Chinese bosses praise Sheffield’s ‘reputation for excellence’ at opening of new office

Opening ceremony of CISDI UK Headquarters in Sheffield.'From left: John Lester, UK managing director, Ningchuan Yang, chair of CISDI UK and Yi Zhang, chief consulting officer, CISDI Group.''Picture Dean Atkins
Opening ceremony of CISDI UK Headquarters in Sheffield.'From left: John Lester, UK managing director, Ningchuan Yang, chair of CISDI UK and Yi Zhang, chief consulting officer, CISDI Group.''Picture Dean Atkins

Bosses at a Chinese global engineering giant praised Sheffield’s ‘worldwide reputation for excellence’ in steel making as the company opened a new office in the city.

CISDI Group, which builds steel factories, chose the city over New York and Dusseldorf to launch a subsidiary to serve Europe and the USA.

Opening ceremony of CISDI UK Headquarters in Sheffield attended by Lord Mayor Cllr Peter Rippon and Master Cutler David Gray'Picture Dean Atkins

Opening ceremony of CISDI UK Headquarters in Sheffield attended by Lord Mayor Cllr Peter Rippon and Master Cutler David Gray'Picture Dean Atkins

The Sheffield office will provide engineering design services and be the purchasing hub for the group - which is forecasting revenues of £1.49billion this year - sourcing components and equipment for plants worldwide.

Bosses say they expect to place orders of up to £7m a year - and buy locally where possible.

​Yi Zhang, chief consulting officer of the CISDI Group, praised Sheffield’s industrial heritage at the opening of the new base on Thursday.

He said: “Sheffield has a worldwide reputation for excellence in advanced technology and engineering.

“We recognise that Sheffield has some of the most skilled and well trained personnel in the world, especially in the steel industry. We are recruiting top engineers to help develop our technology here, in the UK.”

Mr Zhang added: “We also look to our Sheffield office as being a kind of incubation centre for our staff in China.

“There are currently around 7,000 Chinese students studying at both Sheffield universities. These universities have a good reputation for engineering and we hope to make some valuable partnerships here to develop our young personnel and our technology.”

Mr Zhang praised Sheffield City Council and Creative Sheffield for their support and added the city office will help the firm to ‘become more international’ and ‘create partnerships worldwide’.

The official opening was also attended by Zhaohui Yu, chairman of the state-owned group who flew in from South West China, councillor Peter Rippon, mayor of Sheffield, and David Grey MBE, master cutler.

James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Our Sheffield City Region Inward Investment team were first to make contact with CISDI and initiated the success story that led us to their landmark decision to come to the Sheffield City Region. I wish the company every success and understand that important business activity has already begun to take place.”

The firm has ploughed £1m into refurbishing the former PlusNet headquarters at Victoria Quays. Some seven jobs have been created but there is room for 50.

The group is part of the Metallurgical Corporation of China, a Fortune 500 company and a contractor in the construction of the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic stadium in Beijing.

*CISDI supplies complete solutions - from feasibility studies to turnkey equipment supply for steel producers worldwide. The projects it works on are huge - CISDI was responsible for the independent design of China’s Panzhihua Iron & Steel Corporation, and the plant design of Baosteel. It is currently building a steel plant in Vietnam capable of producing 22.2 million tonnes of steel a year.