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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Sino-British Co-operation in Forefront at CEIBS London Forum

October 03, 2019. London – Around 250 scholars, entrepreneurs and senior executives from China and the UK shared their views on new openings in the Chinese market for British firms, at the CEIBS Insights UK Forum in London.

CEIBS leaders and professors also joined in the discussions at the event, entitled “China’s Consumption Upgrade: New Opportunities for UK.”

The discussions took place against the backdrop of China’s ongoing evolution from “the factory of the world” to “the market of the world”, and the opportunities created by this transformation as the country’s population of 1.4 billion grows more affluent, and more aspirational.

The event was especially poignant as it occurred close to several significant anniversaries. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China took place the day before the forum, and this year marks the 47th anniversary of ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations between China and the UK. In addition, next month sees the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the China Europe International Business School.

CEIBS President (European) Dipak Jain delivered a welcome speech in which he said the goal of the school in its 25th anniversary year and afterwards was to enhance its academic excellence, and continue to add value and social significance to what business can achieve.

“The London Forum is a chance for CEIBS to continuously disseminate and create knowledge whilst promoting global business communication, allowing CEIBS to enhance its global influence and visibility,” he said.

In a keynote speech, Minister and First Staff Member of the Embassy of China in the UK Chen Wen praised the efforts of CEIBS to promote and enhance global business communication at a time when the business world was undergoing great changes.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, China has become the most dynamic and potential consumer market. The UK has unique industrial advantages in consumer goods, financial services, high-end manufacturing, medical services, tourism and education, which is highly compatible with the needs of China's consumption upgrades and market development, said Minister Chen.

She added, “It is expected that China and the UK will work together to grasp the new trend of consumption upgrading, opening up new opportunities for Sino-British cooperation, allowing new achievements for the benefit of the two countries and the world, and promoting the "golden age" of Sino-British relations.”

Deputy Mayor of London for Business Rajesh Agrawal was also a keynote speaker and in his address said London was an open city which hosted many technology companies well suited to meet the needs of the Chinese market.

Mr. Rajesh revealed that he had been encouraging British entrepreneurs to engage with the Chinese market and had already achieved very positive results.

“I hope those attending the Forum can make full use of the communication opportunities on offer, to enhance mutual understanding and explore more opportunities for cooperation.”

In a speech looking at matters from a from a macroeconomic perspective, CEIBS Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of Economics and Finance Xu Bin analyzed challenges facing China's economy, and what opportunities recent trends offer Sino-British cooperation.

Professor Xu said that China had reached a new stage of economic development and that high demand exists for foreign high-tech manufacturing products and services. At the same time, he predicted China would become more open in response to recent macroeconomic trends, and introduce policies to attract more foreign direct investment - a key area for Sino-British cooperation, he added.

A round table discussion hosted by financial journalist Martina Fuchs and Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School John Richardson saw leading Chinese and British entrepreneurs discuss the latest economic developments and what they may mean for Sino-British co-operation.

Zhuang Hongbin, CEO & Co-Founder of Emotech, Wang Yeming, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud EMEA, Hannah Jackson, Head of China Development of The Body Shop, and Edward Brewster, Communications Director of Huawei and Head of China Business Development, broadly agreed that development of new technologies such as 5G, smart cloud and artificial intelligence offered huge potential. There was a general consensus that efforts were needed to both understand more deeply what the technological developments meant for business, and strengthen business communication between the UK and China, to enable opportunities to be fully grasped.

The theme of the second roundtable discussion was “Impetus for Technological Innovation: Incorporating Financial Products into Daily Life” and featured Will Sorby, General Manager of N26 UK, Vincenzo Mitolo, Head of Growth of TrueLayer, Jeremy Abbott, Senior Business Development Manager and Permanent Representative of the UK branch, UnionPay International (UPI), Suresh Vaghjiani, CEO & Co-Founder of Tribe Payments, and Rita Liu, CEO of Alipay (UK) and Director in Sports Marketing of Alipay Global Branding and Marketing.

The five guests used their own experiences to show how financial products and technological innovations will have a profound impact on people's daily lives. The panel agreed that the integration of technology and finance will create a huge space for development and that traditional financial institutions must take the initiative to embrace new technologies to avoid falling behind.

Wenjian Fang, Chairman of CCCUK, General Manager of Bank of China London Branch, delivered a closing keynote speech in which he said Sino-British cooperation should focus on three aspects.

Firstly, there should be a focus on improving communications to explore trends and potential opportunities for business cooperation. Secondly, there should be also a focus on increasing active participation to pursue the economic development of both sides. And thirdly, there should be a focus on continuing to epand the scope of cooperation between China and the UK based on mutual understanding and cooperation.

Fang said, “This forum is a good start and plays an important role in promoting future communication and cooperation between Chinese and British companies.”

Darren Yue
Rachel Wang & Cameron Wilson