Last week, the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th birthday.
China is the world’s second largest economy and is predicted to take the number one spot by 2020.
I’ve lived in, and loved, both Beijing and Hong Kong and I really care about what happens in that part of the world both on a business level given Peregrine’s work with Chinese clients and on a personal level.
Current UK government policy is to embrace the world’s biggest superpower, however with the protests in Hong Kong, China-US trade tensions and Brexit rhetoric, our future political relationship looks somewhat uncertain.
How important is China for you and your business?
“We are not an island”
Last weekend I took my kids to Pizza Express (100% Chinese).
I played and watched sport with them as always and Wolves (Chinese owned) beating Man City was the headline there.
I also moaned to them about leaving taps running (China owns almost 9% of Thames Water) and the lights on (China owns a 1/3 of nuclear power station Hinkley Point C).
Just like the US (my phone), the Koreans (my TV) and the Germans (my car), the Chinese are already here in a big way.
Major UK Employers Invested in China
Earlier this year, BT became the first international telco to enter the Chinese market after being given licences enabling them to serve Chinese consumers directly.
Rolls-Royce powers over half of China’s airplane fleet and they have recently signed an engine and long-term maintenance service agreement with China Eastern Airlines.
Unilever is heavily invested in China, this included buying a majority stake in Qinyuan, Chinese-based water purification company.
London, Finance and Trading
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s £32bn bid in September for the London Stock Exchange has grabbed the headlines. Whilst it seems likely to fail, you can’t deny the ambition.
China has 4 of the world’s biggest 5 banks and our biggest, HSBC, has China to thank for its origins, as well as its name.
Two of London’s biggest skyscrapers, the ‘Cheesegrater’ and the ‘Walkie Talkie’ are Chinese owned.
London’s future as the world’s leading financial market will surely be very closely linked to its relationship with HK, Beijing and Shanghai (whether we’re in the EU or not).
We at Peregrine love a lot about China (especially its food!) and we recognise its importance to our firm’s future.
What about you and your business?