Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin today welcomed strong UK-China cooperation on bilateral investment at the launch of “Chinese Enterprises Investment Guide to the UK” (“the Guide”), produced by an influential National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC – China’s Central Planning Ministry) think-tank with the support of the British Embassy in Beijing. The guide is the first of its kind to be written for Chinese companies looking to invest overseas.
Speaking alongside representatives from Huawei and Blue Focus, both of which have made significant investments into the UK within the past 12 months, Mr Letwin said:
The UK is consistently ranked as Europe’s top recipient of foreign direct investment, so it is no surprise that the UK has also emerged as the most popular European destination for Chinese overseas investment. The UK Government, from the Prime Minister down, has made clear that we are determined to retain this title, and I am confident that this guide will provide practical support to the growing number of Chinese companies that want to enter the British and European markets.
The Guide was written by the National Development and Reform’s Institute for International Economic Research and benefitted from close cooperation with the British Embassy in Beijing.
The Guide forms part of the implementation of China’s ‘Going Out’ strategy, which recognises the important role overseas investment by Chinese enterprises can play in supporting China’s economic development and reform. Secretary-general Zhang Yansheng of Academic Committee of National Development and Reform Committee said:
It is of strategic importance for China to accelerate the outward investment, in respects of facilitating the growth pattern transition and the economic restructure, evading the potential trade frictions, rebalancing the balance of payments, developing the multinational enterprises of China, and creating the comparative advantages in the global market. In fostering the Chinese investment into the UK, the economies in the UK and China will achieve benefit of complementarily. This will push forward the innovation and development in China, and also support the economic growth in the UK.
Writing in the foreword of the guide, UKTI Minister Lord Livingston said:
We are delighted by the very rapid increase in Chinese investment into the UK seen in recent years, and its equally rapid diversification across different sectors of the UK economy. The UK prides itself on being the open economy in the world for inward investment. We unreservedly welcome Chinese companies in the UK.
Companies are attracted to the UK for a number of reasons, all explored in this guide: our predictable legal and regulatory systems; our deep talent and capital markets; our long history of innovation and creativity, showcased so effectively during the 2012 Olympic Games; and our physical location: between Asia and the US and with easy access to the vast European market.
British Ambassador to China, Sebastian Wood, said at the launch event:
This guide is an excellent illustration of UK commercial diplomacy in action. I am delighted to see it come to fruition after more than 18 months of close cooperation between the British Embassy and the relevant Chinese departments. The recent explosion of Chinese investment to the UK is very encouraging, but the potential for sustained growth in the future is striking. We hope that this Guide will contribute towards realising that potential.
The guide was informed by a week long study trip to the UK by representatives from the relevant Chinese government and research institute. Meetings were held in London, Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford with Chinese companies already operating in the UK, a wide range of UK professional services companies and UK government officials.
The guide is targeted primarily at Chinese companies who have yet to invest in Europe, and Chinese government officials that are involved in supporting China’s “Going-Out” strategy. 5,000 copies of the guide will be printed initially and distributed around China. It is expected that the guide will be updated every couple of years to ensure it remains relevant.
Professor Zhang Jianping, who led the project team that produced the guide, said:
Informed by my research, I am extremely confident that Chinese investment will continue to increase rapidly in the years ahead. There are over 500 Chinese companies already established in the UK, and around 20 case studies are illustrated in this guide. The UK investment environment is extremely attractive to foreign investors, and the UK is particularly welcoming to Chinese companies, as demonstrated at the end of last year with highly successful visits to China by Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne to China last year.