Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty
Sarah O'Meara
March 03, 2015 11:55 AM

Prince William plans to be an air ambulance pilot, but he might be missing his calling as a great soccer coach.

He certainly looked like one while visiting a Shanghai high school on Tuesday – a busy day in which he also attended the Chinese premiere of the British film Paddington.

The prince, who’s a fan of English team Aston Villa, was ready with a double-handed high-five for one enthusiastic youngster who ran over to greet the 32-year-old royal.

Perhaps getting ready for his son George‘s foray into the sport, William looked thrilled to see schoolchildren learning soccer (“football” across the pond”) skills from coaches trained by England’s Premier League, even stopping to demonstrate his own skills with an expert kick.

Prince William in China
Chris Jackson/Getty

William kept the young-at-heart theme going later in the day as he attended the premiere of the comedy Paddington, and posed with a life-size Paddington bear on the red carpet.

Some 50 local schoolkids also attended the screening at the Shanghai Film Museum after winning a competition to illustrate Paddington bear.

“We went into the cinema and had snacks, and then we met Prince William. He was very friendly, but I only smiled at him,” Yuna Goto, 10, told PEOPLE.

Her mother Emiko, a fashion designer, said her daughter was very excited about the evening. “She loves the royal family and even has a Queen Elizabeth doll whose hand can wave,” Emiko added.

William had been in Shanghai since the previous evening, when he opened the GREAT Festival of Creativity, a showcase of U.K. talent that aims to support companies looking to break into the Chinese market and promote the creative strengths of the British economy.

High-profile British guests included Jo Malone, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Kelly Hoppen.

At the launch, William highlighted that the festival was not just a platform for promoting Britain’s highly regarded film, art and media sectors. “It is also a platform for the creativity and inventiveness that British firms apply in a wide variety of sectors, like healthcare and education,” he said.

William also commented on the “openness and warmth” of his Chinese hosts during his first visit to the country. He added that “could not help” but be impressed by Shanghai’s famous skyline.

As his wife Kate, 33, stepped out in London, William told the event at Shanghai’s Long: “Less than 24 hours into my first visit, I have a strong sense of the opportunity that exists for collaboration and partnership between our two countries.”

William also met Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, owner of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company. The former schoolteacher, who built the firm from scratch, talked to William about selling more British products on his platform, and their shared passion for environmental protection.

Also at the GREAT Festival of Creativity, William was shown four David Bailey photographs of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and was delighted with them.

On Wednesday, William will visit an elephant sanctuary in south China, where he is expected to speak about the importance of wildlife conservation.

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