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Exploring the opportunities and challenges of China-UK trade and investment

What are the future opportunities of China-UK trade and investment? The Confucius Institute at Queen Mary University of London hosted a panel discussion on 28 January at the House of Commons which explored this topic.

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China has experienced an unprecedented period of growth over the past 35 years and, whilst there has undoubtedly been a slow-down, in absolute terms China is still a market with huge potential. 

Opportunities and challenges

China’s focus is changing, and there is increasing synergy between what China wants and what the UK can offer – across a wide range of sectors from financial and professional services, Education, and Advanced Manufacturing to Retail, and the Creative Industries.

However, and not surprisingly, there are also challenges – from the sheer scale of country, the cultural differences, finding reliable information to practical issues around Intellectual Property and even the logistics of getting paid. There is, however, assistance available to mitigate these risks as explored through the event hosted by the Confucius Institute at Queen Mary.

Queen Mary’s unique position

Lord Tim Clement-Jones opened the proceeding citing Queen Mary’s unique position to create partnerships with businesses which also benefit students too. “44 per cent of Queen Mary’s students are either from the EU or overseas which means, because of the diversity of language skills on offer, the university is ideally placed to work with businesses.”

Professor Colin Grant, Vice Principal (International) said: “The work of both Queen Mary’s Confucius Institute and organisations such as the China-Britain Business Council reflect the growth of business ties between the UK and China.”

Lise Bertlesen, Executive Director of China- Britain Business Council (CBBC) has over 20 years' experience in the China market and has worked with a range of companies, organisations and government departments across all sectors.

In her keynote address Lise Bertlesen discussed the range of opportunities that the UK can offer Chinese businesses but also emphasised that stronger links with China were good for the UK too: “Stronger relations are great for the soft power of the UK, helpful for UK business and future business opportunities.

“China is diverse, and may even be seen as continental in its own right. There are many different Chinas but they are all China.”

Left to right: Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Lise Bertlesen, Professor Kathryn Richardson and Professor Colin Grant
Left to right: Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Lise Bertlesen, Professor Kathryn Richardson and Professor Colin Grant

About Queen Mary’s Confucius Institute

The Confucius Institute at Queen Mary University of London is a collaboration with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE). It aims to strengthen educational, cultural, and business links between London and Shanghai, two leading financial centres. It facilitates student and staff exchanges, academic collaboration and joint research.

The Institute was established in September 2015 with support from Hanban, Confucius Institute Headquarters, which is responsible for promoting Chinese language and culture abroad.

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