Guidance on China engagement issued to UK tech

Guidance on China engagement issued to UK tech

The UK government has published new guidance to help businesses negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter in China or when working with Chinese companies.

The guidance sets out key issues digital and tech SMEs should consider as they weigh the benefits and risks of commercial ventures, as well as signposting specialist sources of advice.

UK tech “unicorns” – including Improbable and Blue Prism – have launched in China and more leading companies are likely to follow.

The government said the website will support safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech, adding working with Chinese firms was critical to remaining globally competitive in the future.

China is the UK’s third-largest export market and the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing major economy. The guidance aims to help SMEs make a success of business ventures linked to China, choose the right partners and manage risk by taking appropriate steps.

Digital and culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The latest statistics show UK-China bilateral trade has exceeded the £76bn mark for the first time and our digital tech sector is the fifth biggest exporter of services in the world. But we recognise the ethical, legal and commercial questions businesses face when they work in China or with Chinese businesses.”

She said the UK was determined to support businesses to engage with China in a way that reflects the UK’s values and takes account of national security concerns.

The news comes amid growing tensions between the UK and China over Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Earlier this year the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and blocked arm sales to the territory after China imposed a tough new security law on the former British colony.

The government has also ordered Chinese tech giant Huawei to be removed from the UK 5G network by 2027 over concerns the Chinese government could use the company for spying, further souring relations with Beijing.

Julian David, chief executive of trade body techUK, welcomed the launch of the guidance.

He said: “At techUK, we recognise the massive opportunity that China presents for the UK’s digital and tech businesses as well as challenges that firms face when navigating each other’s unique marketplaces.

“To be successful and protect their operations, digital and tech businesses need to know the challenges and take the right steps to navigate them.”

Last Updated: 20 November 2020
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