China business opportunities were the focus of a reception hosted at the House of Lords yesterday by the All Party Parliamentary Group for East Asian Business.
The China Britain Business Council’s CEO, Stephen Phillips, reminded the assembled company that headline figures on China’s economy (which indicate a slow-down) fail to reflect the growing opportunities at the granular level of individual cities and sectors. They also do not show the growing sophistication of the Chinese market.
The opportunities are especially significant for the UK, which now receives the largest amount of Chinese investment in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. The UK is attractive both as a destination in itself and as a gateway to the European Union.
Six key areas for growing commercial opportunities with China were highlighted:
- Chinese online consumers;
- UK marketing, design and city-management expertise;
- Overseas Chinese students (who often herald further investment) and UK research and development programmes;
- Health-tech, especially in the care of the elderly;
- Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities;
- The ‘New Silk Road’ rail link that reduces shipping times from 40 to 14 days with attendant implications for capital flows.