The China-Britain Business Conference was yesterday and it proved to be very interesting. I pulled out my favourite nuggets of wisdom about the changes that are on the way in China, but first, I think David Cameron highlighted the importance of China best in the event’s program foreword:

“China’s transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime: it has become the world’s second largest economy, largest exporter and largest trading nation in recent years. China’s development is not a threat but an opportunity and the UK is already benefiting. Our exports to China rose by almost 20% in the first half of 2013 alone and Britain is proud to be the most open country in the Western World to Chinese investment.”


Top 5 Insights from the CBBC Conference:

1. China is preparing to implement more laws to protect consumers- These will include privacy protection, class action suits and just generally clarify where responsibility lies when products on the market are found to be harmful. An interesting note: if fake goods are advertised or purchased online, the online platform that displayed the false advertisements or sold the fake products can be sued.

2. The banking industry is slowly becoming more de-regulated- This is encouraging outside investment, private capital and peer to peer lending.

3. China as a nation is becoming more productive- As labor costs rise, more technology is being used to phase out human workers. This is good for MNCs as it forces all companies to compete with similar costs, something that many western companies have been doing for decades.

The "China in Transformation" Panel.

The “China in Transformation” Panel.

4. The rise of migrant workers as consumers- China’s far west regions are becoming more connected and farmers as well as white collar workers in the area are buying more. This demographic spends US$677 bil. per year on consumer goods and their salaries are increasing on average 12% a year as the migration to the east continues and leaves a shortage of workers in the west. But their brand preferences vary from their eastern counterparts– for example they prefer Snow Beer to the ever popular Tsinghua and Lenovo to Apple, other favourites are Nokia phones and KFC.

5. Sectors that should expect high growth in 2014 are healthcare, education and travel- China’s ageing population will need care and the younger generation does not have the time (or desire, it seems) to give it; there will be huge opportunity for in care nursing homes. Education is still a huge priority with a growing number of parents choosing private education. Travel is becoming a norm for more than the upper class and new experiences are highly sought– specifically the cruise industry is seeing an increase in Chinese travellers.