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BritCham/CBBC Business Climate Survey 2013

BritCham / CBBC
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The British Chamber of Commerce in China and China-Britain Business Council have completed their annual Business Climate Survey, which broadly concludes that although longstanding challenges remain for UK companies in China and competition is growing, the overall outlook is positive for Britain.

A large majority of companies planned to increase their investment in China in the year ahead. The majority posted profits in 2012. More British companies were now "in China for China" - that is, delivering to the domestic Chinese market - and three quarters regarded China as at least a top-three priority for their global business. Over half planned to take on more staff here, and a similar number hoped to diversify into new sectors.

The rising competition actually derived chiefly from Western competitors. Other challenges included the attraction and retention of talented employees, as well as red tape and regulations, the lack of transparency and the threat of corruption and protectionism. There were mixed views on intellectual property rights, although the general perception seemed to be more optimistic than before.

“More and more UK businesses are raising their profiles ‘on the ground’ in China, and they appear to understand that competition is indeed fierce here and not only from their Chinese competitors but also from other Western firms operating in China,” remarked Russell Brown, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China.

UK companies were considered to have competitive advantages over Chinese rivals in a host of areas from product quality to innovation, customer service, branding and management. Comparative weaknesses were noted in two significant areas - competitive pricing and government relations - in which Chinese companies were seen to be gaining ground.

Stephen Phillips, chief executive of CBBC, observed: “These results suggest that as British businesses become more involved and more experienced in China, they may well be climbing the never-ending ‘China learning curve’ well.”

The survey is available in the attachment below.

You can read further assessment of the results of this year's survey in the September issue of FOCUS magazine here (p16 of PDF).

CBBC and BritCham China sincerely thank UK Trade & Investment, the Confederation of British Industry, BritCham Guangdong and BritCham Southwest for their support in this year’s survey.

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