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Investor Showcase 2.0 - China focus: the rise of Asian investment

On May 2nd 2019, CENTI Group’s founder and CEO John Zai joined the Tech London Advocates Investor Showcase 2.0 in London. The event brought together the leading investors and entrepreneurs from the UK tech ecosystem to discuss the impact of EU Referendum on tech companies and make further discussion on why we should look to China for post-Brexit future.

In 2017, Investor Showcase was hosted by Tech London Advocates for the first time. The leaders and experts in tech sectors discoursed about effect the British Government triggered Article 50 to the UK and EU. This year, Tech London Advocates Investor Showcase 2.0 reviewed the major changes in the tech investment landscape, along with the challenges and opportunities facing tech companies in post-Brexit Britain.

Among all the discussion of changes, it is worth noting that the tremendously rise of Asian Investment these years. Today, China is the world’s second largest foreign direct investor to UK. According to a report from the Daily Mail, the investment in these 5 years in the UK (from 2013 - 2018) exceeds $19 billion which is more than the investment during the previous 30 years.

During the China Focus panel, several speakers including Mr. John Zai, founder and CEO of CENTI Group, Ms. Kaitlin Zhang, CEO of Kaitlin Zhang Branding and Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates (TLA) and Global Tech Advocates (GTA) all cited examples that China has been a vital investment partner to UK tech.

Apart from the size of investment, a crucial reason why China is a key market for UK tech is that  Chinese companies endeavour to go overseas. These companies desire to seek technological knowledge, brands and new markets outward. On the other hand, Britain’s tradition of welcoming foreign investment and its talent and professional services are attractive factors to Chinese investors. As a matter of fact, Chinese investment in UK doesn’t seem greatly affected by Brexit.

Also, the guests gave some practical advice to the UK and EU entrepreneurs who want to expand their business into China.

“For the UK and EU companies, China can be a complex country to understand, especially when it comes to the different regulatory environments.” said John Zai, he suggested that If tech companies want to  go to China, they should be serious and act decisively.

Kaitlin Zhang advised that “don’t try to do the whole Chinese market at the same time” . Since the enormous landscape of China, the entrepreneurs should start from one or two cities to show they really under Chinese market.

Russ Shaw claimed that “To really understand China, you should go to a tier-one city” Then you would realise people who in tier-one cities are eager to build the connections outward and fully understand its importance.

In the end Russ Shaw and JohnZai closed the show and announced the first Global Tech Advocates festival in October 2019 at Shanghai, China. In partnership with  Global tech Advocates, CENTI Group (China European Network for Technology & Innovation) has expanded the organization in Shanghai and Shenzhen. As a cross-border platform connecting European technology startups and SMEs with the Chinese market, CENTI would bridging the gaps between east and west,  create one of the largest ecosystem between Europe and China, working with entrepreneurs, consultants and international trade experts.

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