A recent international BT survey finds that an overwhelming 80 per cent of business decision makers believe that international expansion is highly essential for the success of their organisation, with 75 per cent saying that growth opportunities are the main reason prompting them to look to expand overseas.
More importantly, the UK is widely cited for the perceived quality of its governance and regulation around IT security and data protection. In fact, some 37 per cent of respondents highlighted this as an attractive characteristic, reflecting the importance of the quality of IT infrastructure to expansion plans. More than half of respondents in India see the UK as highly desirable.
On a global basis, the US is the most desirable for expansion (33 per cent), followed by the UK (30 per cent), China (29 per cent), Hong Kong (27 per cent) and Germany (26 per cent). The top three countries were ranked highly based on their potential customer base and the average affluence and disposable income of their citizens.
The survey also highlights several technology factors that businesses look for when expanding into other countries, with 62 per cent of respondents flagging the quality of IT infrastructure and services, 60 per cent the quality of digital and communications infrastructure and 52 per cent the IT skills of the workforce as being important in decision-making.
Crispin Simon, chief executive officer of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), said: We are making the UK the best place to start and grow businesses and I am pleased that this report reinforces our position as the number one location for inward investment in Europe. Inward investment from high growth markets such as China is at an all-time high and UKTI will be working hard at the International Festival for Business to encourage more international firms to set up and grow their businesses here, creating jobs and growth for the UK economy.
The UK has always thrived on openness and we realise that the welcome we extend to those who invest here is critical to securing our country’s long term future.
The survey also highlights the countries that UK businesses believe to be highly desirable for international expansion. The US comes out top (33 per cent), followed by Germany (29 per cent) and then China (28 per cent), with their potential customer bases being cited as the most important reason.
Significantly, 91 per cent of businesses say that if a country is a digital-first economy then this is of great help when expanding into it.