Monthly Archives: September 2017

Gordon Brown to open Silk Roads conference 4&5 October

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) outlined by China’s President Xi Jinping is the most significant investment and development programme in modern times. Cumulatively, it is, without doubt, the largest contract in the world.

We are delighted that the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the UK, will address the conference, providing us with his unique geopolitical perspective on the continued development and influence of Asia and China on global trade.

This is the first major conference in Scotland where you can learn about the world’s largest economic development initiative and assess what impact the BRI will have in business, in academia, in policy making – and on the world.

It will run over two days in the University of Edinburgh’s iconic McEwan Hall, which has just reopened following on from a £35m refurbishment.

visit our microsite for more details and to register.  


Prof Chris Rea: the Chinese Swindle Story 6 Oct 16.30

Join us on Friday 6th October at 16.30 when Associate Professor Christopher Rea, University of British Columbia, considers The Art of Ingenuity: A Brief History of the Chinese Swindle Story.

Why do collections of swindle stories appear at certain times and places? In China, for example, the swindle story has experienced bursts of popularity during the late Ming, the early Republican era, the early Mao era, and during the last 20 years. And comparable works exist around the world.

This talk will consider what  e.g. do Zhang Yingyu’s Book of Swindles (Ming China, 1617), Richard King’s The New Cheats of London Exposed (Georgian England, 1792), and P.T. Barnum’s The Humbugs of the World (Reconstruction-era United States, 1867) have in common?

Swindle stories, clearly, serve a double purpose: they teach techniques for navigating perilous social environments, and they entertain. But theirs authors tend to frame these narratives within a questionable claim: that ours is an age of unprecedented peril. Focusing on the example of China, this talk will highlight one thread running through literary history: connoisseur-ship of the swindler’s ingenuity.

Date:  Friday 6th October
Time: 16.30 till 18.00 followed by a drinks reception
Venue: Screening Room,50 George Square, University of Edinburgh


Christopher Rea is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (California, 2015), which won the 2017 Joseph Levenson Book Prize (post-1900 China).

He is editor of China’s Literary Cosmopolitans: Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, and the World of Letters (Brill, 2015) and Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts: Stories and Essays by Qian Zhongshu (Columbia, 2011); and co-editor of The Business of Culture: Cultural Entrepreneurs in China and Southeast Asia (UBC Press, 2015).

His most recent book, translated with Bruce Rusk, is The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (Columbia, 2017); the original work, said to be China’s first collection of stories about fraud, celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2017.

Friday 6th October
16.30 till 18.00 followed by a drinks reception
Screening Room,50 George Square, University of Edinburgh
Click here to register for this talk and reception

Henry Tillman: Financing China’s Belt & Road Initiative 3 Oct

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) outlined by China’s President Xi Jinping is one of the most significant and substantial investment and development programmes to come out of China since the building of the Great Wall.  In advance of our two day conference focusing on BRI, join us to develop an overview of the financing arrangements made by China for this long term, high growth initiative.

Our speaker, Henry Tillman, has an international business career spanning almost 35 years.  The founder, Director and CEO of Grisons Peak* a London based Asia focused merchant bank in 2008 he also set up China Outbound Investments** which tracks and analyses G2G agreements, Chinese Government related loans and M&A/equity investments.

In his talk he will provide information on

  • Chinese policy bank loans (2013-2017)
  • New banks (AIIB, NDB and SCO Bank‎)- and how these banks are becoming multi-lateral
  • Chinese use of Green Bond market
  • ‎Use of other financing instruments such as Securitisation, NPLs

While many ratings agencies question China’s ability to fund this growth  data accrued by China Outbound Investments shows how they are doing so, and how such financing techniques have evolved over the past few years.



Henry Tillman initially spent a decade in New York with  major investment banks,mostly advising on US organisations on M&A and capital raising. Since 1992, he has been based in London, including a senior management role at Barclays Group, with a focus on Europe and Southeast Asia and at ABN AMRO, where he was a Wholesale Banking Board Member, managing a global business with a focus on Emerging Markets, in particular Asia.

Mr Tillman previously served (2011-2015) as a Non Executive Director of Wells Fargo Securities (Europe). In 2016, Mr Tillman represented the 48 Group (UK) at the launch of the Maritime Silk Route in Xiamen. In 2017,he has led workshops for European Executives and Board members on the Belt and Road Initiative at Cambridge University; on Funding the BRI at the Intermodal Global Industry Leaders Conference (Shanghai) and was interviewed in a podcast by The Financial Times on Chinese capital controls.

He is currently Chairman and Co- Founder of Music for Autism International, the international arm of the UK based charity Music for Autism. MFAI collaborates with leading ASD schools based in countries committed to developing musical, artistic and dance/movement talent for their gifted ASD students and sustainable music programmes for other ASD students (Autistic He is also Chairman and Co-Founder of The Autistic Adult Choir, the world’s 1st all autistic, all adult choir, based in London.


Join us to begin to understand the economic levers and flows of capital emerging from China.

University of Edinburgh Business School, Main Auditorium, Tuesday 3 October 6pm.

Please – register here to secure your seat.

This event is organised in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School.

It free to attend. A networking drinks reception will follow.

*  Grisons Peak is a London based, Asian focussed merchant bank which has completed over €25 billion in advisory assignments since inception.The firm focusses on advising UK/European companies with unique technologies to partner with China based businesses in China and on Asian organisations interested in international expansion.

** China Outbound Investments, tracks and analyses G2G agreements, Chinese Government related loans and M&A/equity investments in a single quarterly report, all of which have been reconciled with original source documents whenever possible. This database also includes bespoke capabilities which measure Chinese Government related loans linked to individual infrastructure/renewable energy projects since 2013. The company’s research has been cited by many major press including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Thompson Reuters, IFR and several others. This database has also been used by major universities for academic research regarding Chinese outbound investment in the UK (Cass Business School) and the US (New York University).