Monday 13 February 2017 1:00 am

The FCO is leading a delegation of British life sciences firms to China this week

A Foreign Office minister is leading a delegation of British healthcare and life sciences firms to China this week in a bid to boost trade.

Asia-Pacific minister Alok Sharma will be in South China from Monday to Wednesday, before visiting Beijing to meet with Chinese ministers.

It comes just days after Downing Street confirmed that Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to China later this year.

Read More: May begins "golden era" of Chinese relations as she pushes investment in UK

May has been keen to shore up relations with Beijing since she delayed approval for the jointly Chinese-funded Hinkley Nuclear reactors last year amid suggestions from former colleagues that the Prime Minister had a "general prejudice" against investment from the Eastern state.

Sharma will lead a trade delegation to visit Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Xiamen.

The trip will also see Cardiff University sign an agreement with the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital to collaborate on breast cancer research, and Sharma will also open an expanded UK visa application centre in Fuzhou, designed to accommodate the increasing number of Chinese applicants.

“There is a wealth of investment and export opportunities for the UK across south China,” he said.