NOW is an ideal time to invest in China, and Yorkshire companies are perfectly placed to capitalise on the opportunities, according to Sheffield-based international business relations expert Craig Burton.
Mr Burton, who is international business director for accountants and business advisers Grant Thornton’s Sheffield and East Midlands offices, says a combination of factors makes China an attractive proposition to South Yorkshire business leaders looking to expand their operation abroad.
“While the majority of the world’s major economies are still fighting to return to stable growth, the Chinese economy is continuing to grow and is now the second largest in the world,” says Mr Burton.
“For too long the UK has been over-reliant on customers in Europe and North America, and although we already have established initial ties with China the relationship still has a long way to go.
“China presents a huge wealth of opportunities to foreign businesses, and Yorkshire companies are in an ideal position to capitalise on these given Sheffield’s existing tie ups with Chengdu and the region’s excellent reputation for manufacturing quality.”
The Chinese economy grew by 10.1 per cent last year, making it the fifth fastest growing economy in the world.
Craig Burton says that this continued growth, China’s increasing appetite for foreign imports and a cultural shift in attitudes to consumer spending makes 2011 an ideal time for UK companies to invest in China.
“The UK and US governments are both in discussions with China and are encouraging it to strengthen the Yuan, as they currently believe it is artificially undervalued.
“As it strengthens it will make foreign imports cheaper and thus more appealing to the Chinese market. UK exporters will also benefit from the already weakened Stirling,” says Mr Burton.
“In addition to this, China is currently undergoing a cultural shift as people shift from saving to spending. China’s retail sales, which are the main gauge of consumer spending, rose by 18.7 per cent last year. As always there are potential pitfalls with investing into a foreign market, but with the right guidance and advice there are many exciting opportunities in China.”