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China's top UK business achievers honored at ceremony

By Wang Mingjie in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-02-28 10:17

Awards recognize industry's biggest success stories

Alipay and Sinochem International Oil (London) were among the fastest-growing Chinese companies in the United Kingdom that were recognized at an award-giving ceremony at The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce on Wednesday.

Thirty Chinese companies operating in the UK, with a combined turnover of 43 billion pounds ($56.74 billion) and employing more than 3,500 people, received awards after making it onto the Grant Thornton Tou Ying Tracker 2018.

Representatives of the enterprises listed in the 2018 Tou Ying Tracker pose with their award-winner’s certificates at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce on Wednesday. The list of Tou Ying, which translates to "invest UK", was compiled by the London-based consultancy company Grant Thornton, in collaboration with China Daily. [Photo/China Daily]

The list of Tou Ying, which translates to "invest UK", was compiled by the London-based consultancy company Grant Thornton, in collaboration with China Daily. To qualify, companies must be UK-registered, with an audited turnover of more than 5 million pounds for the last two years, and they must also be at least 50 percent owned by an entity or individual in the Chinese mainland.

"The big story of the 2018 Tracker is the strong performance by industrial and manufacturing businesses. Nearly half of the Tou Ying Top 30 are from this industry," said Simon Bevan, head of the China Britain Services Group at Grant Thornton, and co-author on the report.

Although the UK is renowned for sectors such as financial and business services, Bevan said "it is interesting to me to see how Chinese companies are also active in UK's less well-known manufacturing sector – partly to be producing goods close to the important UK and European Union consumer market, and also because of real capabilities in high-end manufacturing, precision engineering and R&D.

Minister Chen Wen from the Chinese embassy in the UK delivers a speech during the 2018 Tou Ying Tracker VIP Celebration Dinner on Wednesday. [Photo/China Daily]

Despite the backdrop of recent falling global investment from China and the on-going uncertainty over what Britain's departure from the EU might bring about, Bevan noted that the UK remains an attractive destination for Chinese investors, with Chinese investment here increasing to 88.4 billion pounds during 2017.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Chen Wen of the Chinese embassy in the UK, said: "Over the years, Chinese companies in the UK have made an important contribution to advancing the China-UK 'Golden Era'.

"Chinese companies have also played an active role in fulfilling their corporate responsibility. The over 750 Chinese companies in the UK have created more than 80,000 jobs for the local community," the minister added.

She attributed the continued vitality of China-UK trade and economic cooperation, in such complex and volatile international times, to "trust, openness, and win-win cooperation".

"China and the UK have complementary economic strengths, which provide a sound basis for cooperation," Chen said.

A representative from China RE poses with the award-winner’s certificate with Minister Chen Wen and Simon Bevan, head of China Britain Services Group, Grant Thornton (right) and Yu Yilei, editor-in-chief of China Daily Europe. [Photo/China Daily]

This year marks the sixth year of the Tou Ying Tracker, and it is the first time that the list does not feature separate rankings for State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and privately owned Chinese companies. Instead, it presents one single ranking for the 30 fastest-growing companies.

A number of companies present on the night claimed awards for their rapid growth, from manufacturing and industrial sector representatives, including Sinochem International Oil (London), Billions Europe and CGN Europe Energy UK, to the financial services, Alipay UK and BOC Aviation, all took home trophies.

Fiona MacLeod, general manager at Billions Europe, said: "Eastern and Western business cultures have many differences. The importance of personal relationships over written contracts, the long term versus short term vision, the consensual agreement versus individual power. But the key to global success is local people."

China Daily has collaborated with Grant Thornton on the Tou Ying Tracker since 2013. The annual report is based on accounts filed at Companies House in London by Chinese-controlled entities.

Yu Yilei, editor-in-chief of China Daily Europe, said: "This report is just one example of what can be achieved when we work together, and the continued success of the companies represented here tonight makes me optimistic for the UK and China's economic future."

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