Eco­nomic ties with UK on track for con­tin­ued growth

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By LI JIABAO li­ji­abao@chi­

China-United King­dom eco­nomic ties are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, andChi­nese in­vest­ment in the UK will main­tain its ro­bust mo­men­tum, the China-Bri­tain Busi­ness Coun­cil told China Daily onWed­nes­day.

Mean­while, the de­mand for high-qual­ity prod­ucts from the UK will be boosted by an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class, Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ move up the value chainan­don­go­ing ur­ban­iza­tion, its CEO said.

Chi­nese-UK ties are “grow­ing strongly. But there is still a long­way to go be­forewe­re­ally seize all of the op­por­tu­ni­ties both for Chi­nese and UK com­pa­nies,” Stephen Phillips, CBBC’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said on the side­lines of the UK-China Part­ner­ship in Cre­ativ­ity and In­no­va­tion, jointly held by the coun­cil and Pro­pel­ler TV, at the Third China (Bei­jing) In­ter­na­tional Fair for Trade in Ser­vices.

“Chi­nese com­pa­nies are still at a very early stage in go­ing in­ter­na­tional, and we will con­tinue to see large in­vest­ment in the UK in the next few years as more Chi­nese com­pa­nies look out­side China,” he added. “The ob­sta­cles are ac­tu­ally very sim­i­lar for Chi­nese and UK com­pa­nies— that is, un­der­stand­ing the en­vi­ron­ment of the other coun­try. Chi­nese com­pa­nies think the UKis com­pli­cated, and vice versa.”

The past 18 months have seen Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the UK sur­pass that of the pre­vi­ous 30 years, Phillips said. From 2003 to 2012, Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the UK rose by 83 per­cent an­nu­ally on aver­age to $2.78 bil­lion, ac­count­ing for 3.2 per­cent of China’s over­all out­ward di­rect in­vest­ment in 2012. The UK is China’s fourth-largest des­ti­na­tion for over­seas in­vest­ment and the top des­ti­na­tion, or the gate­way, for Chi­nese in­vest­ment in Europe, ac­cord­ing to theUNCon­fer­ence on Trade and De­vel­op­ment.

“Chi­nese in­vest­ment in theUKis broad-based. We have seen ma­jor in­vest­ment in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, in­clud­ing Chi­nese banks, in­sur­ance and law firms,” Phillips said. “Re­cently, we have seen a lot of in­vest­ment in property, both cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual in­vest­ment. We are also see­ing more in­ter­est from pri­vate com­pa­nies in in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy-driven com­pa­nies and UKbrands.”

Xu Weip­ing, board chair­man and gen­eral man­ager of ABP (China) Hold­ings Group, is plan­ning an Asian busi­ness park in Lon­don with a to­tal in­vest­ment of 1 bil­lion pounds ($1.7 bil­lion).

“The park serves as a plat­form to team up Chi­nese businesses and bet­ter tap into UK mar­kets,” Xu said. “The first phase will cover 1.5 mil­lion square feet with an in­vest­ment of 300 mil­lion to 350 mil­lion pounds. Con­struc­tion will start in Oc­to­ber or De­cem­ber of this year and will be con­cluded at the end of 2016. The park is set to ac­com­mo­date businesses in the high-tech, en­ergy-sav­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion sec­tors, as well as mod­ern ser­vices.”

In ad­di­tion to in­vest­ment growth, China’s trade with the UK also high­lights bi­lat­eral eco­nomic ties. In the first four months of this year, China-UK trade surged 20.6 per­cent year-on-year to $23.33 bil­lion, com­pared with the 11.3 per­cent growth of China-Eurp­pean Union trade. China’s ex­ports rose by 14 per­cent to $15.85 bil­lion, and its im­ports jumped 37.3 per­cent to $7.48 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

“The ma­tu­rity of the Chi­nese mar­ket is driv­ing the strong­growth in­UK­ex­ports to China. We are see­ing a shift in China to­ward more con­sump­tion. Chi­nese com­pa­nies and con­sumers are look­ing for more­high-qual­ity goods from over­seas,,” Phillips said.

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