Building Bridges between the UK and Chinese Business Communities

Trust is the foundation of any successful business relationship, regardless of nationality and industry. – Jean Jameson

On Tuesday, 5 March, Jean Jameson, UK CEO of Hampton Group, was invited to speak on a panel organised by the Leadership Council. The panel was held under the theme of Reaching out to China.

The panel saw the launch of the latest research report of the Leadership Council which presents “nuggets of wisdom” in an easily portable and accessible format.  The report is based on interviews with industry leaders. “Reaching out to China” is the tenth in a series of papers on topical concerns for leaders. The Leadership Council brings together senior figures from commercial and public life. Chaired by Lord Janvirn, the Council provides a powerful perspective on leadership agenda.

“It was refreshing to see so many senior business leaders have a real interest in building bridges with China. When doing business with China it is crucial to understand its culture and people and to see so many UK business leaders interested in learning about that, made me feel very positive about the future of UK China business relations.” commented Jean Jameson.

The panel discussion made it clear that it is not only western business leaders who need to learn how to communicate with Chinese business leaders but also the Chinese business community that needs to learn how to tell their story to a Western audience. “China is looking to the UK for best practice.” commented Jean Jameson. Countries like the UK play a vital role in serving as a role model for China in various areas such as corporate governance.

Hosted by Lord Janvrin, Deputy Chairman of HSBC Private Bank (UK) Ltd, the panel saw business leaders from Chinese and non-Chinese backgrounds tell their story on how to reach out to China. Panellists included: Suwei Jiang, Partner of China Business Group of PwC, Phil Swash, Former Director and CEO of GKN Automotive and Martin Newman, Founder of the Newman Partnership.

To do well in China you have to keep an open mind and be ready to discard preconceived ideas. It is best to learn about China with your own eyes. – Suwei Jiang, Partner of China Business Group of PwC.

Founded in London in 2005, the Leadership Council brings together senior figures from commercial and public life. The Leadership Council meets regularly to debate the leadership agenda, annually publishing the findings of their research into a specific leadership issue.

What have you learned when doing business in China? What challenges do you still face? Let us know in the comment section on our LinkedIn.

South East Asia is Growing Together

On Thursday, 28 February, Andrew Methven, Vice President and Head of Strategic Consultancy of Hampton Group, was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the 2019 South & Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF). The conference was held under the theme of exploring global collaboration opportunities with Yunnan Province.

The SSACEIF was attended by senior government officials, international business leaders, and foreign dignitaries. ZHANG Guohua, Deputy Governor of Yunnan Province, also attended the conference. Representatives from over 86 countries including Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan attended the conference. The exhibition attracted over 4,000 enterprises of which over 40% came from outside China.

“The atmosphere was so refreshing. While in the West all we talk about is getting divorced, all the attendees here were talking about getting married and growing together,” commented Andrew Methven. South East Asia is one of the least connected areas in the world. Building connections throughout the area to increase economic development and improve people’s living conditions was a key aspect of the conference. As such building economic partnerships through the Belt and Road Initiative, the “Bangladesh China Indian Myanmar economical corridor” and the “China and Indo-China Peninsula economical corridor” were major discussion areas.

Yunnan is not only the door to South East Asia it also has curious connections to the UK. The earliest reference of Yunnan in the UK can be traced back to a British novel in the 1930s called “Lost Horizon.” This book describes a place called “Shangri-La”, which is a harmonious and peaceful valley far from the mountains of the East. In the novel, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living hundreds of years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly ageing in appearance.

The second curious connection is a man named George Forrest. George Forrest was one of the first explorers of Yunnan Province, which is generally regarded as the most biodiverse province in all of China. During his first expedition to Yunnan in 1904 he helped with the inoculation of thousands of locals against smallpox. In his lifetime he brought back perhaps 31,000 plant specimens, amassing hundreds of species of rhododendron.

Have you travelled to Yunnan before? Are you going to now? Let us know in the comment section on LinkedIn.