PwC encourages Asia Pacific businesses to invest in UK

02 April 2018

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.”


More news on


Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”