COVID-19 Guide for British Business

This page consolidates important information for businesses to be aware of during the COVID-19 outbreak. It will continue to be updated on a regular basis and will be hosted on the CBBC website.

Should you have any questions, please contact enquiries@cbbc.org


CBBC Launches Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on British Trade with China 

With China now the third largest destination for British exports and accounting for 10.8% of all UK imports the impact from the disruption caused by COVID-19 will likely be significant to both economies.

In order to gain a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on British trade with China, CBBC is running a survey for all British companies trading with China (either exporting or importing) to collect information on the problems being faced.
The survey will complement the efforts of our partners at BritCham and the other international Chambers of Commerce who have produced helpful studies on the operational impact on companies located in China. The picture for UK-China trade is less clear at present and with the help of British businesses we hope to understand the situation better.
Once complete, CBBC will use the information gathered by the survey to work with our members and partners towards identifying practical pathways to help companies resolve their issues.

The survey will run from Wednesday, 26th February, and close at 5pm (GMT) on Tuesday, 3rd March, with a report shared soon after. All information provided in this survey will remain anonymous.
To complete the survey please click here.

General Guidance

CBBC China Office Opening Hours
  • Our physical offices across China remain closed until further notice.

  • CBBC China staff will be working from home between the hours of 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday. Our UK office remains open as normal.

  • General Enquiries at this time should be addressed to enquiries@cbbc.org


Official Data & Statistics on Coronavirus in Real-time

FCO China Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its Travel Advice for China on 9th February - advising against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.

Guidance for UK Nationals in China

Flights & Accessibility (UK - China)
Some commercial airlines are still operating; it may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks.

As of 7th February, the following direct commercial flights from China to the UK were still operating, though some have announced imminent suspensions.

British Airways’ issued their latest update on 12 February stating all BA flights to Beijing and Shanghai until 31st March 2020 have been cancelled. All our flights travelling from Beijing and Shanghai have been cancelled until 1st April 2020. Flights to and from Hong Kong remain unaffected.


Supporting Relief Efforts


If your company is able to further support relief efforts both financially and through addressing the shortages of medical supplies being experienced throughout China’s provinces,  please refer to our guidance.  (Applicable for companies in the UK and China)
UK companies have so far contributed over RMB 80 million (as of 2nd February 2020) in funds dedicated to China's tackling of the Coronavirus.


Practical Information for Businesses

Event / Trade Fair Postponements & Cancellations

The ongoing situation in China has led to a number of trade events and conferences being postponed or in some cases cancelled.
This below list consolidates CBBC member events, trade events that have been organised by or in collaboration with our partners and public events for your reference.

Click here to read. 

Guidance for Remote Working

With business continuity a key issue for companies to address at this time, CBBC has produced this short guide on practical software and tools for businesses.

Contacting with Chinese Suppliers:

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies are having difficulties communicating with their Chinese suppliers. CBBC through our regional offices can offer our support to members to initiate contact and seek further clarity on their timelines for getting back to normal operational efficiency.
If this is of interest, please provide contact details of your supplier(s) / partner(s) to a member of our CBBC China team and the following information: 

  • Company / Supplier Name:

  • Location:

  • Telephone Number:

  • Main Contact Name:

  • Contact’s Mobile Number:

  • Email:

CBBC is monitoring the situation closely and regions are instituting differing responses and policies at this time. When your supplier comes back online will depend on local government regulations, where the employees are coming from and if the factory has taken the appropriate hygiene measures as specified by the government.

Click here for our local office contacts

CBBC Insights - General


CBBC Outlook (Summary)

ownload full article (English)

  • As the number of new cases continues to climb, the full scale of the outbreak remains to be seen

  • Restrictions on movement and quarantine controls will slow economic activity through February

  • Consensus predicts sharp short-term economic impact with recovery through the rest of 2020


Guidance for UK Businesses and Impact on China-UK Trade 
  • It is necessary first to caveat any predictions with strong warnings about the limitations of the data available and the risks involved in basing forecasts on the experience of SARS and other past emergencies. As its name indicates, the virus which China is currently fighting is novel, new and unprecedented. The outbreak will inevitably run a different course to what we have seen before.

  • Nonetheless, experience strongly suggests that tourism, hospitality and related industries such as luxury retail will be the areas most affected. Other sectors such as retail and manufacturing are likely to see a temporary v-shaped downturn followed -- it must be hoped -- by a subsequent fairly rapid recovery to normal levels of activity.

  • Chinese exports may experience a considerable drop, but with every possibility of recovering robustly soon after the virus abates. Imports into the UK will equally experience delays which could cause problems for some manufacturers, especially those which rely on intermediate goods from China.

  • Pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers could benefit from increasing demand. We could even see further regulatory changes to China’s healthcare and insurance system in the wake of this outbreak, which could offer new opportunities to UK healthcare companies.

  • A number of members have asked for advice on conference call service providers who continue to be able to operate in China. CBBC can offer no endorsement or guarantee in this respect. However we are happy to confirm that at the time of writing we continue successfully to use BizConf CSS (bss@bizconf.cn), Arkadin Teleconference and Intercall.

  • We advise all British companies to follow the advice published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and local Chinese governments. Some provinces, such as Guangdong, have already published information for foreign nationals.

  • If you need further information or assistance regarding the regulations for specific provinces or cities, please contact enquiries@cbbc.org. We are monitoring the situation constantly and will do our best to help our members during this difficult period.

CBBC Insights (Regional)

28th February 2020 CBBC COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Regional Response Update (ENG)
As the number of reported infections continues to drop, China is beginning to go back to work. Many provinces have already reduced their emergency response level and transport companies have also begun to resume services.

Please click here to view the full report.

21st February 2020 CBBC COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Regional Response Update (ENG)
The second regional update on local policies dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 epidemic. Compared to the previous week, when most policies had just been released, we have obtained a clearer picture of how businesses can receive support from provincial and municipal governments.

Please click here to view the full report.

13th February 2020 CBBC COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Regional Response Update (ENG)

In order to help our members better navigate the confusing array of regional policies regarding the recent COVID-19 outbreak in China, CBBC has assembled reports from our 13 offices in China, and prepared a regional policy report.

Please click here to view the full report.

Business Support

The majority of provinces and local governments have announced preferential policies for local and foreign businesses. The most common measures include:
1)      Preferential tax and social security policies, with filing deadlines deferred or suspended
2)      Direct financial support for heavily affected businesses
3)      Rent reductions or suspension
4)      Preferential loan and financing support
5)      Reduced utility fees
6)      Bespoke legal and administrative aid
7)      Employment support and special labour regulations regarding quarantined employees

CBBC Insights (Sector)

As the coronavirus outbreak has had a fundamental impact on China’s economy, many business sectors have been hit in various ways. In order to give our members a better understand of the current situation in their respective business area, we have  prepared this sector update.

Like our Regional Update, the Sector Update will be updated on a regular basis in order to provide you with the most recent information for your China business.

24th February 2020 CBBC COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Sector Update  (ENG).
Please click here to view the full report.

17th February 2020 CBBC COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Sector Update (ENG).
Please click here to view the full report.


CBBC Members Insight

Please click here to see a list of insights from CBBC members offering guidance and support to businesses.
If you are a member and would like to share your company’s insights on the COVID-19 outbreak, please send details and links to Chloe.Tan@cbbc.org.cn


Policy Notifications and Government Updates

Please click here to view a compilation of links from the State Council and government ministries reflect policy updates and measures put in place to support businesses mitigate further negative impact from COVID-19.

These will continue to be updated

Further Resources

During the critical situation of China’s Coronavirus outbreak, it is important to keep updated with the latest reliable information. China-Britain Business Council ("CBBC") would like to recommend one of our content partners — Caixin’s coverage for your reference.

All coverage is CURRENTLY free-to-read in the public interest but will soon go behind a Caixin paywall.
CBBC members can continue reading with 30% off a yearly subscription using the following discount code “CBBC2020”.