In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK) and present 20 years of achievements of Chinese enterprises in the UK from different angles, CCCUK held the “Online Exhibition of Achievements of Chinese Enterprises in the UK 2001-2021” with the special support of Chinese Embassy in the UK.
The exhibition focused on “new heights of economic and trade cooperation, new areas of rooted operations, and new opportunities for mutual benefit and win-win cooperation”. The event showcased nearly 130 precious photos of historical moments of Chinese enterprises in the UK in industries such as finance, technology, infrastructure, and energy. It vividly reflects the great contributions made by Chinese enterprises in the UK to promote the mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and the development of China-UK economic and trade relations.
Pic. 1: Main View of Exhibition Video
This exhibition consists of four parts: Part I is Historic Moments of China-UK High-level Visits from 2001 to 2021, Part II is twelve key economic and trade cooperation projects between the two countries, Part III is remarkable achievements of deeply rooted Chinese businesses in the UK by sectors, and Part IV is the dedication of Chinese businesses in the UK honouring their social responsibilities.
Pic. 2: View of Exhibition Part I
At the beginning of the New Century in 2001, China officially entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), followed by an increasing number of Chinese companies expanding their business out of China. As the second largest trade partner of China in the EU, the UK emerged as a critical market for Chinese companies to seek international development.
Over the past 20 years, the frequent exchange of visits between leaders of the two countries has effectively promoted bilateral trade and investment and further deepened financial cooperation that benefits both economies. In October 2015, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the UK, during which China and the UK issued UK-China Joint Statement on building a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st Century. This visit opened a “golden era” in UK-China relations featuring enduring, inclusive, and win-win cooperation.
Over the past two decades, accompanying the expansion of reform and opening up, the China-UK relation witnessed a steady development and more areas to cooperate. Between 1999 and 2020, China has become the UK’s 3rd largest export market and 1st largest source of imports, up from 26th and 15th respectively. Investment by Chinese companies in the UK has also taken a steady path, tripling from a decade ago. During the first half of 2020, UK received $426 million of direct investment from China, up by 78% on a year-over-year basis. The Chinese companies distributed across the UK have created numerous local jobs, amounting to more than 75,000 jobs by the largest 838 Chinese businesses in the UK.
Pic. 3: View of Exhibition Part II
In the past twenty years, the China-UK economic and trade cooperation has been elevated to a new height, with multiple key cooperation programmes being steadily and continuously implemented. The twelve programmes include MG Motor UK’s MG6 new model line-off, PetroChina and Ineos signing a joint venture agreement the Petroineos Trading and Refining Limited, the world’s 1st pure electric double-decker bus by BYD, Geely’s new electric taxi, Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) listing Green Bond on the LSE which is the first Green Bond supplied by a Chinese financial institution, the signature of investment agreements for nuclear power projects to be built in the UK by CGN and EDF, Bank of China London branch assisting the issuance of RMB bond issued by the Ministry of Finance of China, the NIO EP9 setting a new lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, R&F Real Estate UK Company’s real estate development in the UK, launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect, the self-built data center of China Mobile International (CMI) in the UK, the clearing amount of China Construction Bank London Branch exceeding the RMB 40 trillion, CGN UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, BCEGI’s Middle Wood Locks development and Jingye Group’s acquisition of British Steel.
Pic. 4: View of Exhibition Part III
In the past two decades, Chinese businesses in the UK have rooted their operation into a deeper foundation. Cooperation programmes are available in banking, high-tech manufacturing, infrastructures and other sectors. The profound cooperation between Chinese businesses and the local British businesses have generated jobs and tax revenues for local people, and substantially boosted the development of related industries.
Chinese banking companies in the UK have insisted on integrating local and international operation in the banking sector. They deliver premium and highly efficient banking services for Chinese and British companies. Currently, nine Chinese banks already set up branches in London. The representative offices of Shanghai Clearing House and SSE in London were opened in 2017 and 2019, promoting the UK – China financial business. Furthermore, these Chinese banking companies strengthen trade cooperation and exchanges between China and the UK and the European and African regions. As a result, this facilitates the development of the renminbi (RMB) into an international currency of Green Finance and E-Payment. Starting from 2015, Chinese banks have issued five green bonds in London with a total value of approximately USD 4.38 billion, accounting for 26.2% of China’s total overseas green bonds. From August 12th 2009, China UnionPay service was available at ATMs in the UK, greatly facilitating Chinese in paying for their travel, study and business operation in the UK.
The hi-tech manufacturing sector has witnessed extensive cooperation on STI (science, technology and innovation) between China and the UK. Under the framework of UK-China Joint Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation, the two countries have jointly developed programmes covering automobile manufacturing, communications, traffic and industrial processing, etc. In September 2019, the BYD ADL partnership helped Glasgow Airport achieve electrification with pure electric buses. In 2018, over 150 prisons used 40,000 Hytera radios throughout England. In addition, many other companies such as Huawei, NIO and CRRC Sifang have established joint R&D centres with UK universities to leverage the country’s high-quality research resources. With an open mindset, Chinese high-tech companies cultivated the ecological circle of innovation while developing intellectual property strategy and promoting STI basic capacity.
Chinese businesses in the UK have harvested fruitful achievements in the infrastructure building sector. Through developing successful cooperation in real estate, logistics freight, community innovation and urban construction, China and the UK have created a friendly environment for stable development and win-win cooperation. COSCO Shipping Crystal Logistics UK is now a strong player in the UK commercial property and building material logistics market. It has undertaken projects with social impacts such as Tottenham Hotspur football stadium and the Shard in London since 2011. BCEGI is an active supporter of urban regeneration projects in the UK by contracting and winning the City Airport project at Manchester and Middle Wood Locks development, substantially upgrading local living standards.
In the past 20 years, Chinese businesses have acted as influential players by investing in energy and other sectors. They actively push forward multilateral cooperation that benefited the economy of the two countries on agriculture, commodity, environmental protection, nuclear power, cultural exchange, and sports, enriching the content of the “golden era” in UK-China relations. CGN has been building three nuclear power projects (including Hinkley Point C) in the UK since 2015 to propel the UK’s goal of achieving net carbon emission by 2050. CISDI is deeply involved in the UK steel market and included in the quality supplier list of TATA UK during its 6-year development in the country. In 2016, Fosun International acquired Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, which successfully returned the club to the premier league in the 2017/2018 season, boosting the exchange of sports culture between the two countries.
Pic. 5: View of Exhibition Part IV
In the past two decades, the Chinese businesses in the UK have taken an active role in serving the local prosperity, fulfilling their corporate responsibilities and helping sustainable development. During Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese businesses and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal have donated the needed medical supplies and contributed a lot to combat the local outbreak in the UK. The CCCUK has organised various public campaigns involved by dedicating Chinese businesses in the UK and local organisations, and built a new bridge for China-UK friendship.
Guests and audiences from the event gave high praise of the outstanding achievements of Chinese enterprises in the UK to promote the progression of China-UK relations and mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation. Those who attended expressed complete confidence in the development of China-UK relations in the new era. Chinese and British business communities will actively leverage their respective advantages, build bridges of collaborations, create more fruitful results in the future, and continue to write a new chapter in UK-China win-win cooperation.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China and the 20th anniversary of the founding of China Chamber of Commerce in the UK. Over the past 20 years, CCCUK provided pivotal assistance to the development of Chinese enterprises in the UK, witnessed and participated in the great reform and opening up and construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The exhibition showcased the significant achievements and valuable experiences of Chinese enterprises in the UK, enhancing understanding and mutual trust of the Chinese and British business communities and told China’s story in the new era.