My passion for all things AGA takes me to so many interesting places and events. This morning, it was to London to be at the signing of an important agreement…between the cooker’s parent company and a leading Chinese manufacturer and distributor.
It was all terribly exciting as William McGrath, Chief Executive of AGA Rangemaster Group, and Mr Huang Qijun, his counterpart with Vatti – which is based in China’s Guandong provence – signed the official document to a storm of camera flashes.
The agreement will allow both companies to distribute each other’s cookers in their respective countries, although rest assured I was reliably informed that the AGA cooker will most definitely continue to be manufactured right here in the UK at the historic Coalbrookdale foundry in Shropshire, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Also present was Business Minister Baroness Wilcox, who stressed the importance of such agreements to UK plc.
“The agreement between AGA Rangemaster and Vatti is important for the UK,” she said, “and will help us to meet the goal of doubling our bilateral trade with China by 2015. It is all the more fitting that this agreement is signed today given Vatti’s own links to the Olympic movement. On behalf of the government, I very much welcome this collaboration and I wish you both every success as it develops in the future.”
New markets for Western-style kitchen appliances are opening up in China and Mr Huang’s knowledge and passion for his subject was infectious.
AGA Rangemaster CEO William McGrath told the audience at the Lincoln Centre in London that the AGA cooker was the “greatest cooker of them all” and added that it would “lead our brands in showing Chinese consumers the range and flexibility of our brands”.
Mr Huang echoed that sentiment. He said: “Our research suggests the AGA Rangemaster brands will connect with the Chinese consumer and we are delighted to be bringing them to China. The range cooker can move into the heart of the Chinese home as it serves traditional Chinese, as well as introducing new cooking styles.”
Just a day before the opening ceremony, the connection to the 2012 Olympic Games in London is fascinating.
Vatti were asked to design and manufacture the Propitious Clouds torches for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and it has produced torches for more than 15 other international events. The company also has a magnificent Olympic torch collection dating back to 1936 and its representatives brought a 1948 Olympic torch to the UK for the signing of the partnership.