Grant Thornton Tou Ying 投英 Tracker 2015 released

The fastest growing Chinese companies in the UK continue to play a vital role in maintaining a vibrant UK economy, according to the findings of the Grant Thornton 投英 Tou Ying Tracker 2015, which is produced in partnership with China Daily.

The annual tracker, which monitors the top 25 fastest growth Chinese companies in the UK*, found that these businesses contributed more than £35 billion to the UK economy in 2014, up from £25 billion in 2013, and employ over 2,500 people.  Overall growth of businesses on the tracker was up 44% in 2014, a 6% increase on 2013 at 38%.  

Simon Bevan, Head of China Britain Business Group at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

"The results reflect the changing pattern of Chinese overseas investment. While state-owned enterprises continue to make a major contribution, and help to create a platform for sustainable growth, the tracker demonstrates the growing importance of China's dynamic private sector. Last year just five of the Top 25 companies were private sector rather than state-owned enterprises, the figure this year has doubled to 10."

Chinese investment in UK businesses is also on a steep upwards trajectory.  The top 25 this year includes 11 companies that are the result of mergers and acquisitions (M&A); in 2013 there were only five.  Merger and acquisition activity accounts for several of the tracker's new entrants, particularly in the technology, media and communications (TMC) sector.

The tracker shows a clear push towards investment in UK companies that can help meet the consumer needs of China’s growing middle class.  The first Tou Ying Tracker, which was published in 2013, was dominated by state-owned energy, financial services and communications businesses.  The 2015 tracker is a more balanced list of TMC, financial services, retail/consumer and energy.

Simon Bevan continued:

"The driving force behind the increase in investment is the Chinese government's latest five-year plan which emphasises 'Made for China' products and services which meet the needs of both Chinese consumers at home and the growing numbers of Chinese travellers overseas.

"It appears that China’s thriving private sector is following the lead of the state-owned enterprises and looking to the UK as an attractive place to invest.  As part of a new "golden age" of UK-China co-operation, demonstrated by President Xi's recent state visit, the UK provides an environment where Chinese businesses and people can flourish. London's reputation as a global financial services centre, attractive real estate market, both commercial and residential, and the UK's role as a springboard to Europe are a key part of this."

Whilst the UK government's closer ties to China appear to be paying off, Simon Bevan warns there is no room for complacency in ensuring that Chinese investors continue to choose the UK in favour of other European countries.

He concluded: "The UK's future EU membership could be a key factor in future Chinese investment decisions as access to Europe from the UK is one of the main attractions for Chinese investors."

For more information, please read the full report of Grant Thornton 投英 Tou Ying Tracker 2015

* The Grant Thornton 投英 Tou Ying Tracker, developed in collaboration with China Daily, identifies the top 25 fastest-growing Chinese companies in the UK as measured by percentage revenue growth year-on-year, based on the latest published accounts filed as at 11 October 2015.  It includes companies with turnover of more than £5 million and a minimum two-year track record in the UK that are 50% or more owned by an entity in Mainland China.