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.

The World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) is coming to London

The World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) is the largest and most important independent event that brings together Chinese entrepreneurs from around the globe.

Now in its 27th year, this biennial event serves as the major platform linking Chinese business organisations, Chinese companies from around the world, and their international partners to drive economic, trade and business cooperation. The 15th WCEC will be hosted in London on 21-23 October 2019.

This will be the first time the WCEC has been held in Europe. The Convention expects to attract over 3,500 delegates from around the world. Chris Yang, Chairman of Hampton Group, has been officially appointed by the WCEC Secretariat as the Executive Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 15th WCEC. He will be responsible for leading on and overseeing all aspects of the Convention.

More information about WCEC can be found here: WCEC secretariat

EU-China Summit advises on trade conflict

The opening of the EU-China Summit, which began today in Beijing, was overshadowed by discussions about the ongoing trade conflict between China and the US.

European and Chinese leaders expressed concern over the tit-for-tat trade war and faltering negotiations on an investment protection agreement between the two sides – the EU’s call for more market opening in China and the planned reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Pressure from US President Donald Trump, and his disruptive tactics, have brought China and the EU closer together. For the first time since 2015, there will be a joint declaration at the end of the Summit.  In the trade dispute, the EU, like China, rejects Trump’s unilateral action outside the WTO, but does not want to be over-reliant on Beijing because many EU politicians share Trump’s criticism of China’s market barriers and forced technology transfer.

After talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Council President Donald Tusk and other members of the EU leadership were also welcomed by President Xi Jinping. Topics discussed include North Korea’s nuclear programme and the future of the Iran deal in light of the US’s withdrawal earlier this year.

The EU hopes the Summit will help accelerate the proposed investment agreement, and help expand agricultural exports. China has already reopened its market for beef from Ireland and France, which had closed in 2001 after the outbreak of BSE in Europe. Agricultural exports accounted for only 8 percent of all EU exports to China in 2017, but this is expected to grow.

The EU has become China’s largest trading partner. Goods worth EUR 1.5 billion are exchanged between the EU and China on a daily basis. Both sides want to set up a joint working group to discuss reforming the WTO. “The WTO may not be perfect, but it remains the only existing organisation with clear rules and a mechanism for resolving disputes,” said Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut, Head of the European delegation in Beijing.