Last week, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron led a trade delegation to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia to boost U.K. trade and investment in the region. He was joined by more than 30 representatives from businesses from every region of the U.K.
In total, the visit resulted in deals worth over £750 million that will create 270 new jobs across the U.K. For example, CBI member Rolls-Royce won a US$580 million (£340 million) TotalCare long-term engine support contract with Vietnam Airlines for Trent XWB engines that will power 14 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The new deal will support U.K. manufacturing in Derby, Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing hub for Trent XWB engines. Please read more here.
The British Prime Minister and Business Secretary Sajid Javid also led the first Northern Powerhouse trade mission, taking over 60 northern companies to Singapore and Malaysia, underlining the government’s commitment to the creation of a Northern Powerhouse. The delegation represented a total turnover in excess of £10 billion, with a combined workforce of over 50,000.
The trip came as Malaysian investor Petra Group announced that 90 highly skilled jobs will be created in the North following an investment in the region of £12 million. The company plans to develop a rubber recycling manufacturing facility using their patented technology to produce Green Rubber.
The Northern Powerhouse trade mission celebrated successes and business wins such as:
The U.K. Prime Minister announced a new £4 million investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) that will support CBI member The University of Sheffield to build one of the largest dynamic test facilities in the U.K. The facility will enable the University of Sheffield to work with industry to test and research engineering structures and systems from the component level to full scale. It will also allow testing across a range of environments previously inaccessible to academic research. Please read more here.
Manchester-based SME FutureEverything won a contract from the Singapore Government worth £500,000, which will see it explore the Smart Nation through digital culture, developing a Smart Nation Innovation Lab and conference.
Cheshire-based Cambridge Dream, which runs international ‘Leadership and University Preparation’ summer schools at Cambridge University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Malaysia-based Brighton Education Group. The two education organisations will work together on projects to equip young people across ASEAN with the knowledge and skills to realise their academic and career aspirations.
The U.K. Prime Minister also made a historic visit to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, pledging to deepen the U.K.’s economic ties with the region. ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Le Luong Minh updated Mr. Cameron on the progress made in realising the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of this year.
Mr. Mingh also highlighted how ASEAN, with a combined GDP of nearly US$2.6 trillion in 2014, is currently the seventh-largest economy in the world and is on track to become the fourth-largest by 2050.
From the U.K. side, Mr. Cameron commended the progress made in realising the ASEAN Economic Community and said that the U.K. will step up its economic engagement by exploring cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development and e-commerce.
The Prime Minister also said that he would appoint a special envoy for trade to facilitate trade and investment relations between ASEAN and the U.K. Please read more here.
Please click here to read a full overview of the Prime Minister’s visit to Southeast Asia.
On Monday, the Singaporean government announced that Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of the Southeast Asian metropolis, had died at the age of 91 after a bout with pneumonia. Serving as Singapore’s first Prime Minister from 1959 until 1990, Mr. Lee was the architect who guided the city-state’s extraordinary transformation from a new nation battling with poverty to a leading global business and transportation hub as well as one of the world’s most prosperous societies.
Following his passing, global leaders have paid tribute to the man widely regarded as one of Asia’s most pivotal and visionary leaders of the past half century.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron praised the Cambridge-educated Mr. Lee for building Singapore into “one of the great success stories of our modern world”, noting that he “was always a friend to Britain, if sometimes a critical one, and many British Prime Ministers benefited from his wise advice, including me.” He went on to say that Mr. Lee’s “place in history is assured, as a leader and as one of the modern world’s foremost statesmen.”
The U.K. is home to one of the largest overseas communities for the former British colony, and Singapore’s High Commission in London has opened a condolence book for those wishing to pay their respects.
In addition, the Singapore UK Association and the UK Singapore Students’ Council are discussing how to get the UK’s Singaporean community to remember and pay tribute to Mr. Lee at an SG50 March for Charity, which will be held this Saturday in London’s Hyde Park.
In China, President Xi Jinping commended Mr. Lee as an “old friend of the Chinese people”, while Premier Li Keqiang stated that Mr. Lee “had worked together with the pioneering generation of Chinese leaders in opening the gate for the friendly cooperation between China and Singapore. His contributions to the China-Singapore relationship and China’s reform and opening up will surely be marked by history.”
Throughout his long tenure at Singapore’s helm, Mr. Lee enjoyed close relations with many of China’s leaders, who were impressed by the level of prosperity achieved under the Singaporean growth model. The Chinese media estimated that Mr. Lee had been to China more than 20 times.
During his last visit in 2011, Mr. Lee met with then Vice President Xi Jinping, who highlighted to the elder statesmen that tens of thousands of Chinese officials had been to Singapore for visiting and studying over the decades, emphasising the important role this had played in promoting strong bilateral relations as well as China’s modernisation.
Mr. Lee’s passing also triggered an outpouring of tributes from the local business community, including CBI members such as UBS and Standard Chartered, which hailed his remarkable legacy in Singapore and worldwide.
Current Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr. Lee’s son, has declared seven days of national mourning for the nation’s founding father, and the state funeral is scheduled for 29 March.
China Direct would like to share with you a snapshot of CBI members' successes in China through 2014. We hope that you found our new format easy to use, visual and informative and wish you all every success for the forthcoming year of the sheep.
Please do keep sending us your updates and press releases so that your business can also be highlighted in 2015.
CBI memberBalfour Beatty recently released its results for the full year ended on 31 December 2013, reporting its operations in Asia, notably Singapore and China, continued to increase their workload and perform well.
Development of Balfour Beatty's structural capabilities in China is expected to provide avenues for additional growth in that market.
Please click here to read the full results for Balfour Beatty.
CBI memberThe City of London
recently welcomed the announcement that the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional
Investor (QFII) programme, which allows qualified investors to raise offshore
renminbi funds and invest directly into China's onshore securities market, is
to be extended to encompass London, as well as Singapore and Taiwan.
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said,
"This is yet another signal that demonstrates the Chinese authorities
recognise London is leading the way as a global offshore centre for RMB. The
opening up of the RQFII scheme will help increase capital flows between China
and the U.K. further supporting the internationalisation of the RMB. Together
with recent City of London research highlighting a significant increase in
renminbi trade services and foreign exchange volumes in London—and the
agreement of a swap-line between the Bank of England and the People's Bank of
China—this move further supports the sustainable development of the capital's
Please click here
to read the full press release by the City of London.
CBI member Prudential recently released its results for the first quarter of 2013, reporting continued and profitable growth in Asia.
Prudential's Asia new business profit increased by 18% to £308 million, driven by higher sales of savings and protection products to the growing Asian middle class and a more favourable geographic mix that primarily reflects strong growth in its core markets in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong and deliberate reduction in Taiwan.
Prudential's two largest businesses in Asia, Indonesia and Hong Kong, had a particularly strong quarter, with profitable volume growth driven primarily by increased levels of agent activation in both markets and additionally, in Hong Kong, the benefit of improved case sizes.
In addition, CITIC-Prudential in China had an excellent start to the year with Prudential's 50 per cent share of APE up 59 per cent to £27 million. This delivered an all-time record in terms of new business profits. Both the bank and agency channels have performed well, with particularly encouraging results from CITIC Bank.
Please click here to read the full results for Prudential.
Faithful + Gould, a member of CBI memberAtkins, recently announced the promotion of Barry Piper to Chief Operating Officer of its Asia Pacific business. Barry also joins the worldwide board of Faithful + Gould.
Barry has had a 28-year career in planning and delivering projects. During his 24 years with Faithful + Gould, he has spent 17 years in the growth of the company's Hong Kong and mainland China businesses. Barry is the founding head of Faithful + Gould's mainland China business.
Commenting on his new role, Barry said, "We are a world leading Project Management and Commercial Services Consultancy, in China we are probably the largest provider of Sustainability and Energy Services, and I am excited to be taking on the challenge of spearheading at the time when we are celebrating 75 years of design engineering and project management excellence."
He also said, "We have made huge progress over the past 25 years in Asia, and I look forward to building on that success by delivering greater profitable growth from our existing markets by focusing on our key growth markets of Singapore and China and also realising new opportunities as we grow our presence in the APAC region."