British companies in China optimistic despite Brexit

Nearly half of 212 British companies that took part in the survey, or 47 per cent, think Brexit could have a positive impact on business if London and Beijing strike a free trade agreement, according to the British Chambers of Commerce in China.
Nearly half of 212 British companies that took part in the survey, or 47 per cent, think Brexit could have a positive impact on business if London and Beijing strike a free trade agreement, according to the British Chambers of Commerce in China.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - British companies in China believe that Britain's exit from the European Union could boost business in the Asian giant, according to a survey published on Tuesday (Dec 18).

Nearly half of 212 British companies that took part in the survey, or 47 per cent, think Brexit could have a positive impact on business if London and Beijing strike a free-trade agreement, according to the British Chambers of Commerce in China.

Fewer than 8 per cent think the opposite.

Some 27.6 per cent of surveyed British firms said they believed continued uncertainty over Brexit would have a negative impact on their revenue in China, while 61.1 per cent said it would have no bearing.

Overall, the survey results showed a high level of optimism among British companies in China, despite geopolitical uncertainties in the global economy, such as the US-China trade war and the slowdown of China's economy.

About two-thirds of respondents said they were optimistic about the business outlook for their industry for the next two years, and a similar number said they intended to increase investment in their China operations over the next 12 months.

Still, China's business climate remains a concern for British companies: Almost a third said it has deteriorated in the past year, while just 19 per cent said it improved.

 

Among the top difficulties that firms face in China, British businesses cited intellectual property rights protection, and cyber security and information technology restrictions - including Internet access and the monopolisation of big data.

"We urge policymakers to address these to ensure fair and reciprocal treatment for British companies in market," stated Nicholas Holt, chair of the British Chamber, in a press statement on the report.