American and Hong Kong entrepreneurs confident about investing in the UK

For businesses thinking of relocating from the USA or Hong Kong, research demonstrates that the UK is a friendly place to do business.

American firms have high confidence in the UK, while an influx of wealthy entrepreneurs from Hong Kong will see them set up businesses here.

BritishAmerican Business and Bain & Company launched the inaugural Transatlantic Confidence Index earlier this year, which measures the confidence of US companies active in the UK.

The wide-ranging survey took into account their views on investing in UK operations over the next two to three years and in the health of the UK’s relationship with both the US and the EU.

The survey questioned 68 large-cap American companies employing more than 275,000 individuals across every region of the UK.

It was good news for the UK as those companies expressed very high confidence in the UK as a destination for business, with a positive outlook for future investment despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Among the key findings:

  • On a scale of one to 10, one-third of US respondents rated their confidence at level 9 or 10.
  • About 60 per cent of respondents plan to increase their investment in the UK over the next two to three years.
  • Nearly 40 per cent said the UK’s number one priority should be improving the political and economic relationship with the EU if they want the UK to maintain its top ranking as a destination for US investment.
  • Almost 80 per cent reported a confidence score for the UK-EU relationship of six or lower, compared with only 20 per cent for the UK-US relationship.
  • Only 17 per cent of all US companies surveyed reported relocating jobs to the EU so far.

Meanwhile, the UK economy looks set for a major boost from the Far East, with a significant proportion of wealthy Hongkongers coming to the UK set to start their own businesses, according to another survey.

Britain introduced the Hong Kong BN(O) visa scheme in late January in response to Beijing’s imposition of the national security law in its former colony. Up to 5.4m Hong Kong people, including BN(O) status holders and their dependents, are eligible to apply for the new visa.

Krish Kandiah is the founder of UKHK.org, a charity supporting Hongkongers in the UK. He told the City A.M. newspaper that most potential entrepreneurs from Hong Kong have enough working capital to start a business and bring a positive spirit to the country.

Over 60 per cent of the potential entrepreneurs own a total asset of over £200,000.

The survey found 42.5 per cent of respondents plan to start their own business in the UK. The majority are in the 30 to 50 age group with more than 10 years of professional experience, such as accountancy, banking, education, engineering, finance and IT.

Mr Kandiah added: “There are terrible things about the lockdown and pandemic, but one of the positive things is rethinking how we do life.

“It is a fertile time for entrepreneurs and one advantage is Hongkongers bringing a new perspective that has seen things work in Asia but has not attempted working in the UK.”

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Posted in Economy, General.