Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Xin Nian Hao (Happy New Year)! I rather hope the Ambassador will give me a tutorial after! The trouble is, I cannot tell the sheep from the goats, so I don't know, I'll have to hedge my bets!

Can I just say Ladies and Gentlemen, how thrilled my wife and I are to be able to join you to celebrate Chinese New Year today and to join you all at the opening of the China Exchange.  

Before unveiling this plaque, I did just want to pay a special tribute Sir David Tang for all the marvelous efforts he's put in, and for his extraordinary and creative vision for this cultural centre of excellence, and of course for his tireless work and commitment in ensuring that this remarkable project actually becomes a reality.  So David, many, many thanks for your efforts over the last 8 years since we came

I am particularly pleased, if I may say so, that two of my charities, my Foundation for Building Community and my Charities Foundation, China, have played a key role in supporting and developing the concept for this building which I hope will become a platform for the exchange of ideas between the East and West.  

Eight years ago, after my last visit here, my Foundation then held a community consultation event to see if they could help develop a consensus regarding the future development of Chinatown.  One outcome of the process, as I'm sure many of you now know, was the identification of this telephone exchange as a possible location for a Chinese Cultural Centre, promoting Chinese culture and the arts.  That is why it is a particular pleasure to join you all here to celebrate the opening of this special centre at the heart of London's Chinese community. 

If I may say so, I am delighted that the centre will not only provide a location for exhibitions, debate, performances such as you've just heard - and special events, but it will also act as a focal point for visitors to the area and a facility for the whole local community.  

So if I may, I would just like to thank all the benefactors here today for their support for this remarkable venture.  I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet so many of you this morning.  In particular, Prudential, HSBC, BT, Mr. KK Chung as well as the donors from the London Chinatown Chinese Association have been so incredibly generous and I really couldn't be more grateful.  Without the combination of Sir David's relentless energy and your support, we would not be standing here today!

I did want to mention in the end that BT, in particular, has not only allowed China Exchange to create this valuable space within their telephone exchange, but has also agreed to a peppercorn rent for ten years.  I was going to thank Mike Rake profusely, but sadly he's disappeared! So you'll have to pass on my particular thanks to him.

So Ladies and gentlemen, my wife and I are delighted to open China Exchange on Chinese New Year.