PwC encourages Asia Pacific businesses to invest in UK

02 April 2018 4 min. read
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The GREAT campaign is an initiative run by Britain’s Department for International Trade to help overseas companies locate and grow in the UK. As part of PwC’s continued partnership for GREAT, the firm has supported a GREAT festival promoting UK businesses to investors based in the Asia Pacific region, hosted in Hong-Kong in the final week of March.

According to leaked Whitehall documents pertaining to Britain’s protracted divorce from the European Union, in a ‘best case scenario’, where the UK continues to adhere to single market rules, growth will by 2% after Brexit. Should a dreaded “No Deal” scenario arise, this drop could be as drastic as 8%. Amid this uncertain economic future, UK businesses are increasingly concerned about drops in investment, with relations with the nation’s largest trading partner likely to be placed under significant strain in the aftermath of Brexit.

While negotiations continue to stagger along in Brussels, the UK Government is therefore keen to drum up investment from new sources, and has recently made a concerted effort to court businesses in the Asia Pacific region. While the UK’s economy faces a productivity problem, the Private Equity market of the Asia Pacific region is booming – recently posting a deal value of $92 billion, buyout-backed exits coming in at $328 billion, and buyouts recorded $257 billion – making the economy an attractive prospect for the UK.

PwC encourages Asia Pacific businesses to invest in UK

GREAT is a campaign run by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade, and aims to help overseas companies locate and grow in the UK. Based in British embassies, high commissions and consulates in cities around the world, the group’s investment services team works to build connections for investors, share insights into specific markets, advise on hiring staff, and assist with visa applications, among other services. The initiative also runs a series of international events, which aim to showcase the UK’s attractiveness as a potential business, investment, and trade destination. The most recent of these, the GREAT Festival of Innovation, took place in Hong Kong between March 21-24.

The festival showcased British talents, technologies and innovations, in order to inspire partnerships and explore investment and growth opportunities in key markets, by connecting public and private sectors, big business with SME and entrepreneurs with investors. A number of high-profile British businesses and educational institutions partnered the event. At the head of the group, principal partner HSBC was joined by partners the Asia Society, the Berkeley Group, Bloomberg Media, British Airways, BBC Worldwide, BT, De Monfort University, Jardines and consulting firm PwC.  

A statement on PwC’s website said that the firm see such events as essential to the future of the UK economy, as, “Sharing innovations that will drive the future of free trade and build lifelong partnerships,” and discovering the world of innovation in one place, can “create future partnerships and drive prosperity for all.”

Opportunities in Asia Pacific

A recent study by PwC revealed that more than half (54%) of CEOs in Asia Pacific are presently planning new strategic alliances or joint ventures to drive growth and profitability this year. PwC’s latest annual CEO Survey also discovered that a further 42% are seeking new mergers or acquisitions, presenting significant opportunities for UK businesses looking to expand overseas.

The region also boasts significant opportunities for British SMEs, with 33% of Asia Pacific CEOs looking to work with entrepreneurs and startups in the next 12 months. 44% of CEOs in Asia Pacific are also very confident about their own growth prospects over the coming year, compared to 34% in the UK and 42% globally.

Speaking on the GREAT Festival, and the opportunities present in Asia Pacific for UK businesses, Kevin Burrowes, Head of Clients and Markets at PwC UK, said, “Appetite for new business ventures is growing, while the Brexit vote has amplified the need for UK firms to explore markets outside the EU. Economic growth in Asia is also expected to outpace the UK in both the short and long term, meaning Asia’s appeal is set to stand the test of time.”

Raymund Chao, Chairman for Asia Pacific and Greater China at PwC, added, “PwC is proud to play an instrumental role in this exciting series of events that will enable the sharing of innovation across industry, society and the community. As one of the key strategic partners, we are committed to supporting the UK as a premier destination for global trade, education and travel, and as an international financial centre.”