Business / Companies

Chinese companies accelerate expansion into United Kingdom

By Cecily Liu in London (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-16 08:34

The top Chinese firms in the United Kingdom have been accelerating their growth rate, according to the latest Tou Ying Top 25 tracker, which examines the performance of the 25 fastest-growing Chinese firms in the country.

Now in its third year, the tracker showed their total revenue in 2014 reached 35 billion pounds ($50 billion), against 25 billion pounds in 2013 and 17 billion pounds in 2012.

The group, which employs more than 2,500 people, enjoyed combined annual growth in 2014 of 44 percent, up from 38 percent (2013), which compared to UK economic growth in the year of 2.6 percent.

Jin Xu, minister counselor of the economic and commercial office at China's embassy in the UK, said the growth rate chimed with the vibrant and flourishing China-UK trade and investment relationship, which received a major boost in October when President Xi Jinping visited the UK, during which 40 billion pounds worth of deals were signed.

The tracker is compiled by accountancy firm Grant Thornton LLP in collaboration with China Daily.

Jin said the UK, which grew that year at its fastest pace since 2007, has become a country of choice for Chinese investment.

"Chinese companies expand into the UK with a focus on localization and sustainable long-term development.

"They have achieved tremendous results and fulfilled their social responsibility, contributing to the UK's economic growth and creating employment," he said.

Four sectors dominated Chinese investment into the UK in 2015: Infrastructure, high-technology manufacturing and R&D, financial services and property, said Jin, adding bilateral opportunities for R&D, services and infrastructure are immense.

He said the UK has much to offer Beijing in its goal of shifting the economy to more sustainable growth and internationalization.

Simon Bevan, a partner and head of China Britain Services Group at Grant Thornton, said the latest tracker analysis shows private Chinese companies are making an increasingly important contribution to overall inward investment in the UK.

China's growing consumer market, he said, is also generating more investment for the UK in the retail, leisure and entertainment industries.

"The country's booming technology sector, especially in mobile communications and social media, is becoming a hotbed of innovation, rather than a producer of copycat Western goods and services," said Bevan.

"Increased investment in tourism and leisure reflects a boom in Chinese overseas travel."

The tracker's data also demonstrated a larger number of Chinese firms expanding into the UK by acquisition compared with previous years, with a wider geographical spread - the result of their growing familiarity with the market.

The tracker's top-ranking companies were spread across the technology, media and telecommunications, financial services, retail and energy sectors.

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