As Gordon Brown, Richard Branson, CBI boss Richard Lambert et al make their way around China, the big message is: let’s do more business together. Already, UK-China trade is worth some £20bn. Brown and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao have said that they want this to rise to £30bn in the next two years. What’s striking whenever you study UK-China business connections is that the same roster of companies crop up. Sure, plenty of UK companies are looking to China as a base for manufacturing and capacity. But how many are selling into China? And how welcoming is the UK to incoming Chinese businesses? (The prime minister says he wants 100 new companies to invest in the UK in the next two years.) In truth, the cultural challenges still intimidate many UK firms. They fear contravention of IP rights and that an alien business culture will be too much for them. Both issues are very real. However, as we explained in this article about the secrets of doing business with China last year, you can overcome the obstacles.
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