LONDON — Giant consumption driven by middle class, steady economic growth even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, big green investment collaboration under mutual desire for the planet … These are among the reasons given by British business leaders for their confidence in resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy.
To reduce the impact of the pandemic, British luxury brand Rapport London shifted its focus to digital economy, seeing a strong double-digit percentage growth in its online business across the world, especially in the booming online market of China. “The Chinese market is set to become the largest luxury market by 2025, and we want to be a part of this growth,” said Oliver Rapport, CEO of Rapport London, in a recent interview with Xinhua. “The importance of the Chinese market is paramount,” said Rapport, adding that the luxury goods market in the Chinese mainland saw a significant boost in consumer spending in 2020 and is expected to grow continuously into the year of 2025.
Since his company has set up online stores on Chinese e-commerce platforms, including WeChat Mini-Programs and Alibaba, Rapport said he plans to open offline stores in collaboration with Chinese partners. Founded in 1972, a London-based market research company Mintel tracked consumer spending across 34 markets worldwide. “We’re seeing a real confidence from a lot of reports that Mintel published in consumer spending going forward,” said Matthew Nelson, newly appointed global CEO of Mintel, told Xinhua. Nelson said the Chinese economy will see a continuous growth in 2021, which has been “driven on the back of the initiatives of technological self-reliance, lifting the living standard, social security, as well as the green economy.”
Having taken a closer look at the latest trends in Chinese domestic spending, Nelson said: “We’ve really been looking as a business at consumers in lower tier cities. Really, they’re providing big growth opportunities for brands that enter into that market with increased purchasing power, and as well as a closer alignment to some of the values that are coming along with those brands.” “I mean, any global brand, whether it’s Mintel, market intelligence, or whether it’s automotive, retail, food and beverage, if you’re a global brand, you should definitely have a focus on China,” Nelson added.
John McLean, newly appointed chair of the Institute of Directors (IoD) for the City of London, told Xinhua as Britain has left the European Union, it needs to look East. McLean noted that the emerging middle class in China is attractive to British enterprises. McLean said things are set to change as tourism resumes with improvements not only in economic cooperation but also in terms of bilateral understanding. “I strongly believe that in a post-COVID era, China again will be that engine,” he said, adding that Britain and China will find a way forward as businesses look for a long-term goal.
China is “wonderful and brilliant” on its carbon emission commitments and the City of London looks forward to continuing strong relationship and strengthening green collaboration with Chinese partners, said William Russell, lord mayor of the City of London. “It’s very important to strengthen the collaboration between the two sides,” the mayor told Xinhua in a recent video interview. “One of the areas that we’re very keen to strengthen is around green finance.” Talking about the collaboration with Chinese partners in green finance, Russell said, “I think China has made great progress, and it’s moving very fast, and we will continue to work with China to help with that progress.”
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) has given great access to many Scottish businesses to learn about the Chinese market, and it really has been “an eye-opening experience” for them, Kevin Liu, senior China representative for Scottish Development International (SDI), told Xinhua in a recent interview. The SDI, Scotland’s trade and foreign direct investment agency, will attend the 4th CIIE in eastern Chinese city Shanghai, which is just around half a month away for the second year running.
Speaking of China’s recovery from the COVID-19 hit, Liu said, “You’re seeing the strength of the rebound of the Chinese retail market, especially the role that e-commerce played in helping ensure that goods and services are still moving across as a fast market.” “The fact (is) that China’s domestic market is still so resilient despite numerous external and internal shocks,” said Liu. “I think China’s market would become even more important, not only for Scotland, but also the rest of the world.”