Bracknell firms urged to look eastBy Hugh Fort
December 03, 2011
Businesses in Bracknell are hoping to benefit from a $3 trillion fund from China designed to expand its links with other countries.
More than 40 members of Bracknell Forest Chamber of Commerce heard how the BCC LinkToChina project to attract investment to the borough is progressing, at a meeting in the Capitol Building, Oldbury, on Monday, November 21.
The project was launched in February this year and has since won support from Bracknell Forest Council, which has signed up to be a national strategic partner.
Chamber bosses are also producing a market guide for investing in the UK called Beijing Outbound
Speakers at the meeting included Paul Britton, inward investment manager of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Dr Kegang Wu, project director of BCC LinkToChina, and Victor Nicholls, deputy chief executive of Bracknell Forest borough council.
Also present was Andrew Yuan, of HYT Telecommunications UK, which is the first Chinese company to move to Slough Trading Estate.
Dr Wu spoke about the five-year economic development plan in China, which includes in its targets a trade balance and an increase in importing.
He said: “This is the right time to look at the Chinese market.
“It is one of the few economies that does have cash.
“David Cameron said that the UK has the chance of being part of China’s growth story.
“Indeed, the Chinese government has a policy of encouraging outward investment.
“China is, of course, different culturally from the UK, and even Japan, so a new approach is needed to deal with the different cultures, political systems and language.
“There are thousands of high technology companies, like HYT, seeking to invest in the UK.
“Of course, these companies have no operational experience here so they need help, including identifying very specific investment opportunities which can meet the requirement, as well as mentoring and partnerships.”
The audience heard that China has a $3 trillion foreign reserve and is looking for foreign companies to invest in.
Dr Wu will be taking representatives from UK companies to China’s investment conference in April next year to learn more.
Mr Nicholls spoke about the potential of Bracknell as a place for Chinese investment.
He said: “We are proud to be strategic partners as the borough is a great place to live and work in.
“We have a knowledge economy [an economy based on creating, evaluating, and trading knowledge] and low crime rates.
“Proximity to the key motorways, Heathrow and London is a key factor.
“Bracknell, Wokingham and Reading combined is the number one small region in attracting foreign firms.
“There can be no complacency.
“We need to mobilise the strengths of the region and to make the most of the investment opportunities from emerging markets.”