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Connected Places Mission to China


We are partnering with the HMG Science and Innovation Network and Satellite Applications Catapult to run a Connected Places Mission to China. We invite UK SMEs with an innovative product or service related to “Connected Places”, and an interest in doing business with China to apply to take part.

The mission will take place from August 25 -29 2019 and involve engagements in the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Shanghai. Part of our role is to help the companies we work with tap into high growth markets overseas. In line with this goal, this mission aims to help participant companies identify customers, quality local business partners and project opportunities in China.

Successful applicants to our mission will have the opportunity to:

  • Speak at the UK-China Future Intelligence Collaboration Summit in Chongqing alongside senior UK government officials.
  • Undertake a day of engagements in Chengdu delivered in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult, including with Jinjiang District Government.
  • Undertake a Solution Co-development Workshop with prospective partner companies based in Shanghai.
  • Receive one on one coaching regarding their China strategy from the UK’s former Sustainable Urbanisation Envoy to China and Lord Mayor of London Sir Michael Bear.
  • Receive specialist advice on how to set up and establish a foothold in the Chinese market and protect their Intellectual Property.

Why a Connected Places Mission?

The smooth flow of people, goods and services into and around a place is a vital component of economic success. On 1 April 2019 Future Cities and Transport Systems Catapults united to form Connected Places Catapult, with a renewed mission to help businesses create new products and services to tackle challenges related to connectivity. The new Catapult combines the strengths and knowledge of the former Catapults and builds on their programmes in areas such as digital built environment and the future of mobility.

The kinds of company Connected Places Catapult works with include those that:

  • Develop communications solutions that allow for smoother flow of information and ideas around the world.
  • Design and build the physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, aqueducts, sewers, electrical grids) that make our places more connected.
  • Help improve physical connectivity between places by transporting goods and people via land, air and sea.
  • Utilise connected, digital technologies such as the “Internet of Things” to manage city assets and resources more efficiently for Smart Cities.

What to expect from the mission

The Connected Places Mission to China will be led by Connected Places Catapult CEO Nicola Yates and our Senior China Advisor Sir Michael Bear. The programme will include the activities listed in the introductory paragraph and some additional activities summarised in the table below. The draft itinerary is designed to give you a rough idea of what to expect. Programme details will be confirmed once mission participants have been selected.

Arrival Chongqing Chengdu Shanghai Shanghai Departure
Sunday 25 Monday 26 Tuesday 27 Wednesday 28 Thursday 29 Friday 30
Business Meetings in Chongqing Business Meetings in Chengdu Business Meetings in Shanghai
UK China Future Intelligence Collaboration Summit

With UK Government Minister

Joint programme with representatives from Satellite Applications Catapult.

Includes Meeting with Jinjiang District Government


Business Meetings in Shanghai Connected Places solution co-development workshop Flights out of Shanghai
1800: Programme begins

Welcome Meal

Overnight in Chongqing

Train to Chengdu

Overnight in Chengdu

Flight from Chengdu to Shanghai

Overnight in Shanghai

1800: Programme formally ends

A pre-departure briefing session will be held on Tuesday 16 July. It will take place at the Urban Innovation Centre in London and will give participant companies an idea of what to expect and how to prepare for their participation in the mission. This will be a three-hour event starting at 2pm that will include activities to help you get to know other participants, presentations from Connected Places Catapult staff and talks from guest legal and IP specialists on operating in the Chinese market.


For successful applicants, the following costs related to your participation in the mission will be covered by us:

  • Accommodation from Sunday 25 August-Thursday 29 August
  • An internal flight (economy class) from Chengdu to Shanghai
  • Transport to and from meetings during the programme
  • Interpreter fees

Successful applicants will be expected to cover the following costs:

  • International flights in and out of China. This includes arrival in Chongqing in time to attend the 6pm welcome dinner on Sunday 25 August and a flight out of Shanghai following the end of the programme at 6pm on Thursday 29 August.
  • Application fees for their Chinese visa (est cost £100). Connected Places Catapult will provide a visa invitation letter that will allow companies to apply for a business visa to attend.
  • Accommodation on the evening of Thursday 29 August (if you are flying out of Shanghai the following day).


If the description in “Why a Connected Places Mission?” above sounds like it fits your company, then we’d like to hear from you.

Five UK companies will be selected to take part in the Connected Places Mission to China. To take part applicants must:

  • Represent a company that is registered in the UK
  • Represent an SME as defined here[1]
  • Provide a product or service that relates to “Connected Places” (see explanation above)
  • Have credible means to follow up on leads gained as part of the mission activity.

All companies with products related to Connected Places and who meet the above criteria are eligible to apply. Whilst not a requirement for application, we are especially interested in hearing from companies that work at the intersection between Connected Places and Satellite Applications. For example, companies that utilise satellite technologies to tackle challenges related to infrastructure, transport and communications. Some stakeholders that feature in the programme have expressed interest in partnering with satellite applications firms and our programme will contain some joint meetings with representatives of the Satellite Applications Catapult who are also focussed on expanding their cooperation with China.

Application deadline: 9am, 24 June 2019

[1] Catapult Centres primarily support innovation in the UK economy. In doing this we work primarily with smaller, high growth potential companies that are looking to get emerging technologies to market, both in the UK and overseas.

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