Chinese reforms provide significant opportunities for UK

Updated: 2016-06-06 22:22

By Cecily Liu(

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China's structural reform and industrial capacity upgrade is providing significant opportunities for the UK's high tech and innovative companies, experts said at the second UK-China Business Leaders Summit held in London on Monday.

In particular, China's economic structural shift towards a consumption driven economy is giving UK firms ample opportunities to sell their high value added goods and services to China, and China's industrial capacity helps innovative British firms to quickly and effectively commercialize their products, they said.

The summit, attended by hundreds of business leaders from both the UK and China, follows on from the successful inaugural summit in 2014. It also saw the launch of a UK-China Business Leaders Club, with the goal of identifying and facilitating connecting the two countries' individual businesses for potential future partnerships.

Wang Qimin, chairman of the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce, said there is now tremendous momentum for China and the UK's private sector companies' willingness and opportunities to cooperate with each other.

This market driven momentum for cooperation came at a critical time of strong understanding and partnership between the UK and China's governments. Through cooperation, the two countries can also contribute greatly to world economic stability and growth, as both economies are already significant global players, said Wang.

UK and China's business ties received a strong boost in October last year during President Xi Jinping's UK state visit, during which over 30 commercial deals worth 40 billion pounds ($57 billion) were signed. The UK remains China's second largest trading partner in the European Union whilst China stands the second largest of the UK outside the EU.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK, highlighted a diverse range of industries with tremendous cooperation potential for the two countries' businesses, including telecommunications, real estate, finance, automotive, retail and tourism.

Liu said that China welcomes British enterprises' high value added products, and advanced services. Meanwhile, Britain can offer China great opportunities to build their businesses internationally and improve the quality of their products, Liu said. He also encouraged Chinese firms to participate in Britain's regional growth opportunities, for example, the ‘Northern Powerhouse' initiative which seeks to significantly improve infrastructure in north England.

In recent years, Chinese private businesses have increasingly globalized their business operations, following the footsteps of China's state-owned enterprises and large corporations which set the internationalization trend in earlier years.

"China's vast consumer market and ability to commercialize ideas quickly provide significant opportunities for the UK's creative industry businesses and talents," said Xia Hua, founder of the Chinese fashion brand Eve Group.

Meanwhile significant changes within the Chinese economy are also urging foreign multinationals to rethink their China strategy, by increasingly focus on helping China's government and businesses partners to successfully achieve structural change goals and hence build solid brands in the process.

"For a long time, multinational companies have looked to take from china, that agenda has changed," said Phil Thomson, senior vice president of the British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline.

"Bring global expertise and knowledge to China is extremely important. British companies have a role to play, to inspire domestic firms and other multinationals to change and reform alongside the Chinese government's initiatives," said Thomson.

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