With a panel of experts, the various ramifications of President Xi's state visit for both sides of the UK-China relationship were discussed. Panellists were Davide Cottarelli from Varcale Capital Management representing wealth management in the arts sector, particularly film, Edward Radcliffe from Vermilion Partners representing China-UK investment, Roy Graff from ChinaContact an expert on China inbound tourism, and Keith Bennett, Deputy Chairman of the Global Group, who is an expert in Chinese political & business affairs.
In addition, H-J Colston, our Joint CEO shared her insights having had the honour of meeting President Xi during his State Visit to the UK.
Summary of Panellist views.
When it comes to celebrity, nothing is bigger than the President and therefore coverage in China of the State visit was huge. Perhaps the rolling TV coverage of President Xi's meeting with the queen reinforced a Downtonesk view of the UK, rather than multi-racial modern day Britain? However the new visa arrangements to extend a standard visitor visas from 6 months to 2 years multiple entry and plans to introduce a new 10 year multiple entry visit visa for the same price should encourage more visitors to the UK.
It’s not just stocks & shares but film is also an excellent investment opportunity for Chinese investors
Whilst nuclear power gets the headlines, it is also cultural exchange which will help grow the China-UK relationship.
It was felt that the UK press were disproportionately negative about the visit and that although most people in the UK have no negative feelings towards China, they needed to be better educated about the realities of modern China.
The Belt & Road initiative (一带一路) is a multi-lateral opportunity not just for Chinese Companies and will create closer ties across Asia bringing stability through an improved economy in many countries.
Some of these countries, for example Afghanistan and Pakistan are clearly experiencing economic upheaval at the moment, but with infrastructure projects creating jobs and bringing more money into these economies it is hoped that more stability will be created. China may put up some of the money for these projects but it is open to everyone to contribute where they can. The Chinese do not want the initiative to be seen as an equivalent of the 1945 US Marshall plan as the catalyst for this plan was to confront the perceived threat from the USSR to Europe following the end of the Second World War. The Chinese aim is to encourage economic growth for mutual benefit of all involved and where no country is excluded from the initiative.
From the Chinese side, it will provide an opportunity to expand its economy outside China, bringing a welcome economic boost to China’s North East with its state owned heavy industry.
What can China and the UK learn from each other?
Preventive healthcare and infrastructure were areas where the Panellists believed the UK could learn from China. Drugs can be produced more cheaply in China for global use.
China is a huge experimental lab when it comes to the internet and ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to social media. The UK should watch and learn.
Views on what the UK can offer China included expertise in Financial Services, the Creative industries (particularly film animation) education, biotech research collaboration, as well as different ways to tackle looking after an increasingly elderly population. It was noted that any offering that the UK can make with regard to healthcare for the elderly must take into account cultural differences and existing arrangements, if it is to succeed.
Overall the Panel were optimistic about the economic opportunities that this new 'golden era' in China-UK relations will provide.
This event provided plentiful opportunities for networking and making connections, as well as thought provoking discussion
Out thanks go to BNY Mellon for being the venue host for this event