Last night saw the sixth edition of the China-Britain Business Council’s annual Chinese Burns Supper held in Edinburgh. The event is a standout in the Scottish-Chinese business calendar. As with any highly anticipated event you could be forgiven for thinking it may not live up to the hype, but in this case nothing could be further from the truth. Guests were treated to a spectacular evening celebrating both Chinese and Scottish culture in equal measure.

You name a business sector and it was most likely represented. From textiles to banking all under one roof, start-up businesses and multinational groups alike. Indeed, nothing quite gets the evening off on the right foot than being led into the dining room by lion-dancing with bagpipes following not far behind. With Mandarin and English intertwined at every corner (even in the Address to the Haggis and Auld Lang Syne) and haggis followed by duck on the menu, the evening was, as in previous years, a true fusion of two fantastically diverse cultures. If that was not enough, dinner was followed by The China-Scotland Business Awards, and with two finalists joining us at our table we were in for a treat.

The China-Britain Council’s Chinese Burns Supper is a microcosm of the wider relationship between Scotland and China. The event’s growth tracks the growing and expanding relationships between Chinese and Scottish businesses, and the night hosts a hugely diverse range of attendees, with limitless collaboration potential. Being an expertly fused celebration of both Robert Burns and the Chinese New Year, the event truly brings together these two traditional and iconic events, highlighting similarities rather than differences, and symbolising friendship and co-operation.

On a wider scale, the connections and opportunities between Chinese and Scottish businesses continue to take new and exciting directions, showing no signs of slowing down. With direct flights from Edinburgh to Beijing having been in place since last summer, and companies like COES choosing Dundee as a base, the China-Scotland business relationship is as close now as ever, and continues to gain momentum at a growing pace. This is mirrored in the annual growth of the CBBC Chinese Burns Supper, with loyal regulars joined each time by new faces and names. From an expanding list of Chinese companies who are building business links in Scotland, or Scottish companies with a newly sparked interest in doing business with the Chinese – epitomised by this year’s award winners Wood, CTrip, China-UK Low Carbon College and Rabbie’s Trail Burners, all involved in significant but very different ways in the expanding bilateral relationship.

Last night’s event highlighted what we have heard time and time again when talking with businesses in both China and Scotland - that there is a lot more to come, with Chinese companies looking to benefit from everything that Scotland has to offer, and Scottish companies looking to break into the Chinese marketplace or partner with Chinese businesses to expand. This two-way traffic brings a reciprocal benefit around the globe.

As we move into the year of the pig, described as a loyal and trusting animal, if last night’s event represents the future of Sino-Scottish business links and collaboration, there are many exciting ventures to come.