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Chinese companies set to invest billions in Brexit Britain

Louise Moon
·2-min read
China - UK
China - UK

Chinese firms said they are set to invest billions in Britain post Brexit, creating thousands of jobs over the next few years.

Over 80pc of Chinese firms in the UK want to grow their existing operations, as a top priority, according to a survey of 75 Chinese companies in the UK by the China Chamber of Commerce (CCCUK). Its members include Bank of China, and telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE. 

Nearly all of the firms view Britain as a crucial part of their global operations, despite the government grappling with a pandemic-hit economy and uncertainty over a Brexit deal.

Almost half said a No-deal wouldn't affect their investment plans in Britain, despite 64pc expecting Brexit to have some negative impacts on business.

It comes as the UK tightens restrictions towards Huawei, as relations waver with the world’s second largest economy.

Skepticism towards Beijing’s increasing influence, and fears over national security have been building globally - fueled by President Trump's stance on China.

Huawei and the West – a timeline
Huawei and the West – a timeline

The UK is considering a new ban on installations of Huawei's 5G equipment as soon as next year, to appease China hawks in the Conservative party pushing for stricter rules. 

There are no current rules on firms using equipment already bought but not installed. 

Internet companies will now face a £100,000-a-day fine, or 10pc of sales, if they do not comply with the ban. All Huawei kit is to be removed from UK networks by 2027.

Meanwhile Whitehall has launched a new website warning tech firms about the risks of operating in China and accepting Chinese investment. 

Wenjian Fang, chair of CCCUK, said: “Our members stand ready to play their part as the Prime Minister seeks to ‘build, back, better’.

“But it’s also clear the increasing geopolitical tensions are having an impact and some Chinese companies here could soon be at a point where they draw conclusions and look to move their money and expertise elsewhere."

“The ties between our two nations run deep and I remain hopeful that the partnership between the UK can survive and prosper."

Revenues of the top 800 Chinese firms in the UK - which employ about 70,000 people - total over £90bn, according to the CCCUK.