The UK is a great place to do business for American firms and increasingly from Hong Kong, as more and more firms relocate from the Far East.
American-owned businesses account for around one in 20 workers in the UK, with the United States the largest single investor in the UK.
They can see the attraction, with a common language and the much-touted ‘special relationship’ play a key role. In total, they support 1.48 million jobs across the UK, or 4.7 per cent of all workers.
While US firms are well established, most potential entrepreneurs from Hong Kong will take more time to get established, although many have enough working capital to start a business and bring a positive spirit to the country.
Many are in the 30-50 age group who bring a wealth of experience in key areas of the UK hit by staff shortages, such as accountancy, banking, education, engineering, finance and IT.
A problem for many is they are finding that their qualifications are not recognised in the UK, so an estimated 40 per cent are thinking about setting up their own businesses.
Sky News met several migrants who have settled in affluent Sutton in Surrey.
Eric Wong told the news organisation he came here early last year, having never been to the UK before. He left behind a successful business selling tea leaves but brought with him his entrepreneurial spirit.
He decided there is a market in the UK to make and sell Hong Kong milk tea – a traditional drink which is a unique blend of leaves served very milky and sweet. He has now got a licence to produce his secret blend in his kitchen.
Mr Wong says: “I’m going with the flow. I will learn English and hope to blend into the community.
“It will be mutually beneficial. Hong Kong people will bring investment and new ideas. And on the other hand, we are very thankful the local community has accepted us and given us a safe place to live in.”
Meanwhile, 2019 figures, the latest from the Department for International Trade (DIT), show around 60 per cent of all employment in US-owned local business units is outside of London and the South East. US investment supports local economies in every UK region
This suggests US investment is contributing to the UK’s levelling up agenda by supporting investment across the UK, with 29 per cent were employed in wholesale and retail trade, the largest of any industry. This was followed by 22 per cent employed in scientific, technical and IT activities, 14 per cent in manufacturing and nine per cent in financial services.
US-owned businesses make a disproportionately positive contribution to the UK economy.
US-owned local business units accounted for one per cent of all local business units in the UK in 2019, but generated 11.4 per cent of total business turnover. The number of US-owned local business units and employees in the UK have grown almost every year since 1997.
Making a positive impact in a variety of industries
Employment in US-owned businesses accounted for 9.1 per cent of all employment in the wholesale and retail trade industry in 2019. This was the largest of any industry in the UK, and was followed by manufacturing (8.5 per cent) and financial services (8.1 per cent).
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