Amidst the Brexit chaos currently engulfing the UK, what of our relations with other parts of the world?
Irrespective of how we navigate through Brexit, other countries will become increasingly important for our business and our clients. Today we are launching the first in series of reports on China.
The first report has been written by Team Members expert in China and China-related affairs. Over the past 40 years China’s GDP has grown on an average around 9.5 per cent a year and over 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. The country has made huge progress. Of course deep rooted challenges remain including human rights, democracy, poverty, pollution and the fate of Hong Kong as the years pass following its return to Chinese rule (when I was most recently in Hong Kong in 2017, I was struck by just how prevalent the Chinese Government and its institutions) felt in day-to-day life.
In excess of 500 Chinese companies now have offices in the UK with £17 billion of capital invested to date here in an array of projects including some of those sectors of most interest to us and our clients. Whether it’s finance and telecommunications or newer sectors – modern energy, hi-tech manufacturing, infrastructure and research – these are all highly growing arms of China’s economy with many companies seeking to play on a global stage.
Crucially, as I listened to many of the speeches from Government Ministers this week, I was drawn to a piece in the Daily Telegraph with whom PLMR partnered at Party Conference which reminded us how Britain is China’s second-largest investment destination in the European Union. Staggeringly, China’s direct investment in our country last year amounted to almost £1.2 billion.
So it is obvious that our country and our economy is grabbing the attention of the Chinese, amongst other nations as we head towards Brexit. In the first of a series of reports, we examine China’s economic agenda under Xi, who is effectively in the words of the BBC yesterday, “President for Life” following recent reforms.
We hope that these reports will prove interesting reading to all those with an interest in China with whom Britain needs close and productive relations in the challenging years ahead.
Kevin Craig is CEO and Founder of PLMR as well as having founded the GCA, a global network of independent communications businesses.