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East meets West…

22 November 2013

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Overcoming its recent spat with China regarding the Dalai Lama affair the UK has re -embraced the China opportunity with both Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron currently in the news as making a great play to woo new Chinese investment and position Britain as the most accessible EU location for growing Eastern interest in the West.

There is now a certain inevitability about the East – West investment trend which did not exist five years ago in the sense that with the new Chinese government and reformist approach under President Li Jinping, China’s push into the EU as part of its globalisation policy under its twelfth 5 year plan is only likely to accelerate.

This is notwithstanding the revised growth outlook in China is now projected at 7% or less.

The fact remains that China is still on target to become the world’s number one economy circa 2020.

That the East – West investment trend is already happening cannot be denied. The UK is already a focus for that as the UK economy turns upwards and foreign investors pile in before asset prices go skyward – witness the recent heady investments announced into the UK by various Chinese enterprises into Manchester Airport, Thames Water, Lloyds Building and Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile as a small yet dynamic business location the Isle of Man has been quietly seizing the opportunity with China to tap into this and for two years has been seeking to woo some of this business. Indeed, dividends are now starting to flow as this effort begins to translate into our first successes. Chinese trading and marketing companies and other projects as diverse as film production and property investment are now entering our pipeline with a view to setting up here.

Suddenly the Isle of Man, a small Island business centre the size of Singapore and with a diverse and dynamic business sector – is starting to appear on the map in China.

We may not enjoy the same status and visibility of a major nation like the UK but nevertheless more and more Chinese businesses and entrepreneurs are starting to realise that the Isle of Man could well be the advantageous location they had never imagined existed - until now.

Moreover the Isle of Man and UK efforts are complimentary and reinforcing – a number of projects and investments made into the Isle of Man will be routed into the UK and the welcoming rhetoric of the UK’s promotional muscle can only serve to amplify our own visibility as a British Island.

While the Isle of Man and UK fortunes are clearly intertwined, the ability of the UK and therefore to some extent the Isle of Man to remain attractive to China in the medium term must in part rest on the decision of the UK to make the right choice in regard to its future in Europe.

Let’s hope this will be one decision the UK gets right in the coming years and the Isle of Man can continue to flourish as a business jurisdiction of interest to the growing eastern economy.

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