Collectively, 845 Chinese-owned companies filed an audited revenue figure in at least one of the last two financial years
Businesses owned by Chinese nationals make an increasingly large contribution to the UK economy. With a combined turnover of more than £60 billion, these businesses now support more than 60,000 jobs across all industries.
Rising personal wealth in China has led to a surge in foreign investment across the world. In this context, Chinese nationals have become ever more keen to put their money to work, wherever opportunity presents itself.
While for a long time the developing world has been a key destination for this, Chinese investment has also flowed into the world’s largest economies, including the UK.
Professional services firm Grant Thornton tracks how a number of national demographics impact the UK’s economy. Last year, the firm found that 850 Indian companies recorded a combined £50.8 billion total turnover.
Now, the firm has turned its attention to the economic impact of UK-Chinese firms – and found they have an even larger footprint.
Collectively, 845 Chinese-owned companies filed an audited revenue figure in at least one of the last two financial years.
In 2020, that was a lower 838. At the same time, these companies have enjoyed an average 5% revenue growth – hitting combined turnover of more than £63 billion. The actual totals may be far higher, though.
Speaking on these findings, Simon Bevan, Head of the China Britain Business Group at Grant Thornton UK, said the Chinese companies in question only represented ‘a fraction of those doing business in the UK.’ In total, Grant Thornton actually identified around 30,000 companies that are part of a China-owned corporate group or are majority held by a Chinese national.
He said: The average revenue growth of Chinese businesses in the UK remains strong – despite economic headwinds including the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit – showing that the UK continues to be an attractive place to invest and work. Our tracker finds that Chinese investors are active across a wide swathe of the UK economy, with companies from eight sectors included in this year’s research.
While the UK remains an attractive prospect to Chinese businesses in spite of the pandemic or Brexit, the profile of those businesses has changed. Looking at the industry deal volumes involving Chinese investors over the last five years, it is apparent that some markets have become much more attractive since the pandemic, while others have waned.
Chinese companies have created or supported almost 61,000 jobs in the UK, according to Grant Thornton. Of the businesses included in the firm’s study, almost 30% of their employees work in the North West, and 20% in London. As a result, these tended to be where the financially largest businesses were found.
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