Chinese holdings in the UK have seen revenues soar in the past two years, deflecting concerns that the “golden era” of China investing in Britain may be drawing to a close.
Despite a slowdown in outward investment from China to the UK, figures show that Chinese-owned companies in Britain have enjoyed triple-digit growth, according to research by Grant Thornton, a UK-based professional services firm.
The best-performing 30 companies expanded revenues by an average 174 percent in 2015 against the previous year, according to the Grant Thornton data. Among these, privately-owned Chinese companies outperformed their state-owned counterparts, reporting a 210 percent increase in revenues against 146 per cent.
The study marks the first time that revenues for Chinese-owned companies in the UK have been published. A total of 280 - Chinese-owned companies with revenues in excess of £5m are registered in the UK but only 153 of these had reported earnings for at least two consecutive years by October last year.
The 153 Chinese-owned companies, in sectors ranging from real estate to retail, reported revenue increases on average of 20 per cent against the previous year, according to Grant Thornton.
Simon Bevan, head of China Britain services at Grant Thornton, said the 20 per cent rise was a particularly “positive performance” when set against British economic growth. Gross domestic production growth in the UK in 2015 was 2.2 per cent.
The UK has become a favored destination for acquisitions by Chinese companies, with a visit in late 2015 by Xi Jinping, China’s president, leading to official claims that the UK-China relationship had entered a “golden era”.
The most-favoured sector for Chinese acquisitions in the UK is property, followed by 28 per cent for the consumer sector, 8 per cent for financial services, 7 per cent in oil and gas and 5 per cent in healthcare, according to Grisons Peak.