UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Chinese Embassy in the UK have launched the UK – China Technology Forum in Canary Wharf, London. The event brought together key players, market experts and investors from both countries to discuss the latest industry developments and explore partnership opportunities.
Over 150 attendees from Britain’s most innovative companies were given direct insight into the technology landscape in China and introduced to potential business partners from within the top tier of China’s technology market.
The event programme featured presentations on three key focus topics, including: “Internet Plus” – China’s latest official plan to boost a decelerating economy through advanced digitalization; “Smart Cities” – of which China has approximately 400; and a panel discussion which looked at how UK companies can work with China’s tech giants.
“China is the world’s largest mobile and digital market and home to some of the world’s leading technology companies, including Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei and Inspur. This event was designed to foster collaboration and help British companies understand how to tap into that potential and reap the benefits for their own businesses, whilst also bolstering the UK economy as a whole,” said Sherry Madera, Minister-Counsellor & Director for Financial & Professional Services, UK Trade & Investment.
“We are tremendously excited to be part of this event, which has the potential to unlock so much investment for British businesses in China,” said Mr Jiang Sunan of China’s Embassy in the UK. “The event lifted the veil on the plans of some of the biggest Chinese brands in the sector and provided terrific networking opportunities as well,” he added.
The IDC estimates that the ICT sector in China will grow 7% annually to 2020 and that total output value will reach £2 trillion. Additionally, China now spends around £128 billion per year on research and development, which sees it ranked number two in the world, behind the United States.
Graham Curren, CEO of Sondrel, an IC design services consultancy that has already expanded into China, said: “British companies are some of the most innovative in the world and our ICT sector accounts for 8% of the UK’s total GVA. Many UK companies are ready to invest in China. Sondrel has opened a new design centre in Xi’an in 2015 and created a 30 per cent increase in headcount. This event gave us the opportunity to share our experience with our industry colleagues in the UK and to meet the companies who are open to working with us,” he added.
“Huawei has operated in the UK for fifteen years and in that time we have grown to employ 1,100 people across 15 UK locations. We are proud of our ongoing commitment to building a better-connected UK. We will continue working closely with our partners, developing new ideas and pioneering innovations, which will help foster a healthy and robust ICT ecosystem,” said Tim Watkins, Vice President of Huawei Europe. “Our recent agreement with UKTI to identify the best UK technology partners for Huawei’s global supply chain and support Huawei’s investment and business development in the UK will help continue this development alongside key partners in the UK, an important market for us.”
“Since the start of China’s ‘Internet Plus’ initiative, the cloud computing market has boomed. Inspur is building a partner ecosystem to collaborate more closely with companies in China and to share our experience, whilst also hearing first-hand about the thriving and innovative UK technology industry,” said Mr Songtao Lang, Group Vice President of Inspur Group.
The UK – China Technology Forum follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two governments in October 2015, during President Xi’s UK visit. The objectives of the MoU are to enhance communication and stimulate cooperation in emerging industries, with a specific focus on next-generation information technology.