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Britain is open for business to Chinese investors and entrepreneurs

Although the British government has made clear that its aim is to reduce overall net migration to the UK, it is equally committed to ensuring that high-net-worth individuals, in particular Chinese investors and entrepreneurs, continue to migrate to the UK in order to invest, do business and educate their children.

According to Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers, the number of high net worth individuals from China utilising the Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa categories to relocate to, and remain in, the United Kingdom over the past year has in fact increased substantially by 78% and 41% respectively.There are many good reasons as to why the UK remains the destination of choice for Chinese investors and entrepreneurs looking for a second-home overseas.

Here we list our top 10:

1. Easy to set up and do business

It is straightforward to set up and start a business in the UK. The UK was ranked first in Europe (7th in the world) by the World Bank in 2012 as the easiest place to set and run a business, with China being ranked as 91st.

Chinese entrepreneurs can register their company, set up banking facilities and start trading very quickly.  Individual entrepreneurs from China also receive the same support from the UK government as any Chinese business.

2. Rich and diverse market

Chinese investors will find that the UK offers an attractive location with customers, product innovators, suppliers and partners all easily accessible.  Primary, secondary and tertiary industries are all accessible in the UK.

UK Trade and Investment offers a bespoke service to assist Chinese entrepreneurs to set up their global HQ’s in the UK.  For example, NVC, one of the largest manufacturers of lighting components in China, is currently making a large investment in its new offices in Worcestershire. NVC’s UK presence has proved to be a huge success; it has grown from seven staff to 80 in three years from its operation on the Worcestershire site, with an annual turnover set to top £20 million in 2012.

3. Gateway to Europe

The UK is the best place for Chinese entrepreneurs who are interested in doing business in Europe. The UK offers direct access and a primary gateway to Europe and the EU states, with its first rate transport network: London Heathrow airport handles more international flights than any other airport and the Channel Tunnel provides access to mainland Europe in a little over 30 minutes.

4. Innovative and Creative

The UK is known for its quality innovation and research capabilities. The UK was ranked 5th in the 2012 Global Innovations Index rankings by INSEAD, with China being ranked as 34th.

For example, Yuanzhen UK investments, a well-known Chinese investment firm, has decided to invest in a pioneering UK research centre in Manchester, specialising in health and social care for the elderly. It is hoped that their studies will pave the way for new anti-ageing products and technologies, as well as new care models that can be used in China.

5. Large economy and flexible labour market

Britain is, and intends to remain, one of the world’s largest economies.  It is the seventh largest economy in the world (China is the second) with an annual GDP of over $2.4 trillion.

With one of the world’s most flexible labour markets, the UK has skilled workers in all sectors. According to the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2011-12, the UK has three of the world’s top 10 universities.

6. Leading Financial Centre

The UK is the place to be if you would like to be a global player. Britain is where the world raises its capital and trades in shares, through the City of London and the Stock Exchange.
London is one of the world’s largest financial centres and is also being mooted as the second financial centre after Hong Kong, for RMB transactions, which is a vital currency transaction for Chinese investors and entrepreneurs.

7. Quality ICT Infrastructure

The quality and reliability of ICT infrastructure is an important consideration for any investor. The UK has one of the strongest ICT infrastructures in the world. The EIU has ranked the UK as one of the leading locations for its digital environment.

8. Robust legal system

The UK has one of the most supportive legal systems for conducting business, especially the ability to enforce contracts.  The UK is renowned for the strength of its general legal protections for businesses and the pragmatic and transparent approach that it adopts to the protection of intellectual property rights.

9. Favourable tax regime

The UK also has one of the world’s most business-friendly tax environments. The current government has reduced corporation tax to 24% in 2012 and it is anticipated that this will be further reduced to 22%.

10. Accessible and efficient immigration system

The UK Border Agency aims to make UK visa services and immigration to the UK as accessible as possible for Chinese nationals, with 12 visa application centres across China, namely, Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Jinan, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – more than any other country. There is also a simplified version of the UKBA website, especially designed for Chinese visa applicants.

The average processing time for Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications is just 15 workings days across different cities in China.  In fact, according to Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers, many of their successful Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applicants receive their UK visas even more quickly than this.

The UK is doing more than ever to make Chinese investors and entrepreneurs welcome. It has made changes to the Immigration Rules for investors and entrepreneurs, so as to provide greater flexibility. Far from making settlement more difficult for entrepreneurs and investors, the new rules provide a fast track to settlement in the UK.  And there is no limit on numbers.

In conclusion, the reality is that Britain continues to be very much open for business to Chinese investors and entrepreneurs.


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