The 6th CBBC China Outbound Conference, part of the UK's official programme during the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), was held in Shanghai on November 8th, 2018, with over 300 guests attending throughout the day.
CBBC Chairman, Lord Sassoon opened the conference with a welcome speech. Speeches were also given by Richard Burn, HM Trade Commissioner for China, Department for International Trade, Fan Hu, Chief Representative, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Office in Canada, Chao Yang, Vice Chairman, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham, London Borough of Newham, and Zhou Xiaoming, Chairman of ABP International Alliance, in the Plenary Session
Fostering Cross-Border Investment
This year's conference coincided with China International Import Expo, which was an important platform for the UK to support trade in goods and services and promote bilateral investment partnership between the two countries.
With a view to effectively promoting investment cooperation between the UK and China, 70 quality UK investment projects were chosen for delegates attending the conference, covering a wide range of industries including technology, energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and transportation, retail, financial & professional services, education and the creative industries. 10 of these projects were presented during the conference. On top of this, the conference brought delegates various other investment and matchmaking opportunities on the day, including a showcase of the investment opportunities in the London Borough of Newham, and in Wales, with an investment project pitching session and face-to-face project matchmaking with 30 UK companies.
Three MOUs were signed respectively between London Borough of Newham and Changxing Economic and Technical Zone Administration, ABP Royal Albert Dock and Changxing Economic & Technological Development Zone, and ABP International Alliance and Invest Shanghai.
Macro and Micro Guides on Hot Topics
The conference not only explored the overall picture of UK-China economic and trade cooperation, but also focused discussion on a number of hot topics such as, ‘The Belt & Road Initiative’, ‘Technology, IP and Innovation – Opportunities for China-UK Collaboration’, ‘Investing in the UK through M&A’, ‘Opportunities in the UK Services Sector’ and ‘Doing Business in the UK’. The conference provided Chinese businesses with clear insights and guidelines on how to invest and do business in the UK.
Shift in investment direction: China’s domestic economy is maturing, showing higher demand for the UK’s services, consumer goods, technology and innovation. China's investment in the UK has also continued to reflect these changes. Investment has gradually shifted from traditional infrastructure, real estate and other capital projects to higher value-added investment projects, including technology, innovation and services.
The ‘Belt & Road Initiative’ remains an important part of UK-China trade cooperation. Peter Burnett from Standard Chartered pointed out that allowing more private companies and funds to participate may be the direction for future ‘Belt and Road’ development. It can be either by standalone investments, by public-private-partnerships or by cooperation between governments.
Increasing complexity in mergers and acquisitions: When the UK leaves the EU, the complexity in compliance for Chinese companies investing in the UK through mergers and acquisitions may become more uncertain. It was suggested that Chinese companies should seek support from local partners to ensure operational compliance while, at the same time, getting latest updates on tax, accounting, human resources management and data protection.
Coexistence of opportunities and risks in the service industry: The service industry accounts for up to 80% of the UK economy. There are huge business opportunities in the UK in the tourism, entertainment, insurance, financial, retail, and communications industries. However, Neil Sampson from Rosenblatt also pointed out that it is critical for investors to seek professional advice and due diligence before starting any investment project. He specifically reminded the delegates that, ‘when starting out, investors must study the local laws and regulations, especially the costs involved in some large scale projects’.
Regional issues around IP protection: Investors need to develop effective IP protection strategies, while paying special attention to the risks brought about by geopolitical changes. ‘Ensuring IP protection can reduce the risk when doing business on one hand, and largely increase the efficiency of business on the other.' Dr. Yong Cheng from CCPIT Patent and Trademark Law Firm added that, 'The problem lies in the difference in laws and regulations in each country, no matter whether it is patents or trademarks. While global trade tends to integrate, intellectual property protection is regional’.
The China Outbound Conference is the largest event held by the China-Britain Business Council in China, aiming to attract investment into the UK and promote UK-China partnerships in third countries. This year was the third time the conference was held in Shanghai. Shanghai is a major destination for foreign investments, accounting for 14.7% of China’s foreign investment in actual use. Over 580 global companies have established their headquarters in Shanghai, of which many are UK companies. The China-Britain Business Council will continue to promote UK-China cooperation in trade and investment.
To view images of the 6th China Outbound Conference - please click here
Special thanks to:
Co-organiser - CCPIT
Gold Sponsor - ABP
Project Catalogue Sponsor - Santander UK
Sponsors - TMF Consulting, Hawksford, London & Partners, Mott MacDonald, InvestUK, Savills, Welsh Government
Partner - British Consulate General in Shanghai