CHINA’S biggest publishing company has opened a new UK head office in Laindon.

After signing a deal with Essex County Council in April, Phoenix Publishing and Media Group has opened the office in Hornsby Square, on the Southfields Business Park, creating eight jobs, with more in prospect.

In China the company employs 11,000 people and leads the way in publishing, book distribution and printing as well as having interests in hotels, real estate, and finance. Its annual sales income is about £1.2billion.

The Laindon office will deal with printing, copyright trading and publishing businesses..

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said: “This investment from China’s leading publishing company is fantastic for Basildon and the whole county.

“We have worked very hard to make Basildon an attractive destination for international investment and today’s opening is testament to that.”

The deal came after an Essex trade mission visited China in March. The trip included a visit to Phoenix Publishing’s global headquarters in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

County councillor responsible for economic growth, Kevin Bentley, who led the mission, said: “This is the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership between Phoenix and Essex.

“The county can look forward to an increase in job opportunities and we can add another major international company to the businesses which have chosen to come to Essex.”

Speaking at the office’s opening on Wednesday, Chen Haiyan, the company’s chairman and chief executive, added: “Phoenix Print Digital Printing is the company’s first step in the UK.

“We are looking to start our publishing business in a year and we want PPM International to be a platform for cultural exchanges. We hope we can initiate a writers’ exchange project with Essex in the near future.”