The reported lost billions of inward investment may be exaggerated by the press, but the PM could do with some better business advice in the sensitive area of working with China, said Dr. Kegang Wu, Executive Director of BCC LinkToChina.
Dr. Wu was discussing on Jeff Randall Live – Sky News last night when he assessed the impact of David Cameron’s relationship with China and the impact on Chinese investment to the UK.
Elaborating on the points of the interview, he has given David Cameron the credit of setting a high target to double UK China trade by 2015 on the 2010 level, as well as leading a trade group to China and promoting doing business with China. However, he believed that the PM could have handled China with due sensitivity on various issues. China is more sensitive on the issue of territorial integrity and stability, and rightly so given its recent history of humiliation by foreign powers, its geographical size and diversity (think of China as an EU equivalent in these aspects), and the rapid social transformation that has resulted from economic change.
While some high level Chinese delegations have been downgraded and cancelled from the Chinese government, Dr. Wu believed the ‘cooling’ of relationship is confined to the high-ranked government-to-government visits, he commented that it is business as usual as far as the business community is concerned. In April, LinkToChina launched an intensive campaign of Investing in the UK in four Chinese cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangdong. The delegation, participated by council leaders and CEOs from selected key investment locations, chambers, leading professional services providers, and UK based businesses and Chinese investors, has been welcomed by all Chinese hosts with open-arms and has forged strong relationships to encourage more Chinese investors into the UK and selected destinations in the Thames Valley.
Last year, LinkToChina received more than 20 inward Chinese delegations.
Huawei Technologies last month moved into Green Park in Reading and is in the process of creating hundreds of new jobs; Hytera Telecommunication UK has doubled its size in Slough this year; and there are more exciting enquiries in the pipeline for investment into the UK.
Dr. Wu visited the Tibetan regions in China last year and was as an invited international observer to this year’s Guangdong CPPCC (the nearest Chinese equivalent of an Upper House). With first-hand experience of the matters on the ground he believes that China needs to do a better job in sharing with the West on the on-going social and political progress.
With thoughts back on the positives of the recent visit and attracting Chinese investors in the UK, he observed that at the flagship China Enterprise Outbound Investment Conference, where the Investing in the UK seminar was pitched against a whole host of other countries like German, USA, and Canada, the UK group was successful in promoting Slough and Bracknell in the Thames Valley specifically, and the UK in general, whereas in contrast, Canada had a consortium of 11 cities working together at the same event. Needless to say, the UK has a lot to do to catch up in attracting Chinese investors and “we could do more with government on our side”, he added.