Despite the US-China trade war and fears over intellectual property rights, the majority of British engineering firms working in China have reported they will be increasing investment in their operations in the East.
A survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce in China has found that British civil engineering firms with contracts in China are optimistic about the future of business in the region despite identifying significant challenges.
The three biggest challenges respondents reported were difficulty competing with state-sponsored competition, the ability to protect intellectual property rights and restrictions on licensing and certification.
Despite these challenges, 57.1% of civil engineering firms are optimistic about the outlook of their sector over the next two years. Consequently, 71.4% of those surveyed will be increasing investment in their China operations over the next year, above average for other sectors.
British Chamber chair Nicholas Holt said that the data revealed concerns around the business climate in China.
“Our survey reveals British companies have concerns around the business climate in China. Of these, challenges around cybersecurity, intellectual property rights protection and barriers to obtaining licences were the top three issues,” he said.
“We urge policy makers to address these to ensure fair and reciprocal treatment for British companies in market. “A significant proportion of respondents remain optimistic around the future of doing business in China. We hope that necessary measures are taken to ensure that all that glitters really is gold in this new era of UK-China relations.”
The survey captured the views of 212 British businesses operating on the ground in China, representing over £3bn of revenue in their China operations.
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