Chinese and UK economies 'realizing immense potential'

By Cecily Liu in London | | Updated: 2017-06-21 00:30

Chinese companies are making an increasingly significant contribution toward the United Kingdom economy as the two countries continue in their "golden era" of relations, says a business association chief.

"The UK can be a good partner to help China on its journey of internationalization, while China's participation in the UK's economy will be key to help the UK secure its status as a global financial center," said Sun Yu, chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

Sun was speaking at the chamber's annual members' meeting on Tuesday.

The organization, which was established in 2015, has almost 170 members that are all Chinese companies with UK subsidiaries. Around 500 Chinese companies have a UK presence, according to government figures.

The chamber's services to members include hosting business events, communicating Chinese businesses' needs to governments and partner organizations, and hosting sports activities for the employees of Chinese companies.

In July, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the UK hosted a meeting to help its members understand the opportunities and challenges of Brexit.

And in May, it took a group of representatives from Chinese companies on a visit to Belfast, to explore new business opportunities.

Jin Xu, the minister counselor in the economic and commercial office at the Chinese embassy in Britain, said the contribution of Chinese companies to UK-China relations is increasingly significant and noted that the chamber is "a home" to Chinese companies in the UK.

"China and the UK's increasingly close political relationship and growing cultural understandings are supporting the growth of bilateral business relations," said Jin. "Encouragingly, Chinese companies are also very interested in the UK's regional growth opportunities and initiatives, such as the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine for Growth."

China's direct investment in the UK's nonfinancial sectors reached an aggregate 14 billion pounds ($17.6 billion) as of December 2016, which was higher than any other European country.

During the past year, Chinese companies made about 60 investments in the UK, of which about 40 were completed after Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

The value of British exports to China also skyrocketed, increasing by 108 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to British government figures.

The notion of the "UK-China golden era of relations" was established by President Xi Jinping and former British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015.

Looking to the future, Sun said the chamber will work with its members even more closely and aim to exploit the potential within strategic opportunities such as the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Our goal as a business association is to help secure, foster and promote China and the UK's business relationships, while building a comprehensive platform for communication and collaboration between different partners," Sun said.

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