The world is changing faster than ever. Cutting-edge technology has the potential to change the entire world. By coming together, the UK and China can develop new technology to tackle climate change, create new jobs and rebalance the British economy.
For more than 40 years, the UK and China have collaborated on science and technology innovation. Together, scientists have pioneered ways to better understand the effects of climate change, created data tools to make food production more sustainable, and introduced techniques for training doctors in remote areas.
Our relationship has trade and investment at its heart, exceeding £76 billion for the first time, and trade links continue to grow. Britain is one of the top destinations in Europe for Foreign Direct Investment from China.
From telecommunications and enterprise software to precision medicine and digital health, many UK businesses already operate in the Chinese market. The UK’s AI unicorns – Improbable and Blue Prism – have now launched in China, with more leading companies likely to follow.
For many companies, doing business with China is not only about economic opportunity; It’s about staying relevant in a globally competitive future.
The UK Government recognises the opportunities many firms in our digital and tech sector will see in China, and we want to help you navigate the country’s unique marketplace in ways that reflect the UK’s values and take account of national security concerns. This website is a guide to help UK digital and tech businesses to find clear, up-to-date information and specialist support.
The case studies below show the scale of the opportunities linked to China’s growing economy. The guidance on this website – and further tailored help available through specialist advisers – will enable you to navigate China’s complex business environment, helping you to see the potential, and know the challenge.
Founded in 2015, Everledger is a global technology enterprise specialising in addressing real-world economic, environmental and societal challenges. Their main product is a blockchain platform that logs the origin, ownership, features, and trading of assets. Apart from blockchain, the platform also uses artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and intelligent labelling technology. Everledger collaborates with several industries (such as jewellery, apparel, wine and spirits, and e-recycling) to improve provenance, traceability and compliance.
Everledger’s technology has lots of potential uses, as demonstrated through its international work. One example is its community program Moyo Gemstones, which aims to empower women miners in Tanzania to work safely and have greater financial security.
In 2019, Everledger raised $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Tencent, which also included major global investors such as Japan’s retail giant Rakuten, American investment management firm Fidelity, Bloomberg’s venture fund Bloomberg Beta, and Singapore-based Vickers Venture Partners and Graphene Ventures. Tencent is now represented on the Everledger board. Tencent’s investment enabled Everledger to strengthen its presence and extend its developments in China.
Collaboration between the two firms resulted in a high-profile WeChat Mini Program for blockchain-tracked diamonds. The program brings together key stakeholders in the diamond value chain, which aims to empower WeChat users to buy jewellery with more transparency and security. Everledger’s technology is now used in all 91 Chow Tai Fook Jewellery stores in Hong Kong, with plans to extend to thousands more stores across mainland China later this year.
Everledger is a great example of the benefits that having a presence in China can bring. On the commercial side, they’ve seen a strong demand for proving the authenticity of items such as wine & spirits and luxury goods. On the product side, they’ve used the exposure to China’s highly developed digital economy, to inform their solution’s consumer facing elements.
Everledger’s advice to companies looking to do business in China: take time to find the right local partners. Market conditions and consumer preferences can change very quickly in China, so it’s critical that you have the right people and the right partners looking out for you.
Founded in 2012 in London, Improbable provides better ways of developing multiplayer games and helps multiplayer developers respond to any challenges. Designed specifically for game developers, Improbable’s services include hosting & orchestration, networking, online services, development tools, as well as advice, support and full co-development.
Improbable officially entered the Chinese market in January 2019, establishing its China and APAC headquarters in Shanghai and an office in Guangzhou. It has since entered strategic partnerships with leading Chinese game companies NetEase and UMI, who use Improbable’s key product, SpatialOS, to make innovative games.
Improbable has also entered a strategic partnership with top Chinese cloud service provider Tencent Cloud, who will help bring SpatialOS to China by early 2020.
On top of this, Improbable also makes innovative multiplayer titles using its own technology, with studios in Canada, the US and Britain. The first game from Improbable Game Studios, Midwinter Entertainment’s Scavengers, will be released later this year.