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In what was a great example of partnership marketing, Alliott Group members Alliotts and Sherrards Solicitors joined forces with the China-Britain Business Council (an organisation that delivers services in China on behalf of the Departement for International Trade) and international bank Barclays, to provide an interesting half day event in London on how to trade with businesses in China ('China - The New Frontier').

"It is up to professional advisers such as those here today to guide businesses and help to accelerate this growth,"

Mark Hedley, China Business Adviser at the CBBC explained that despite Brexit, the signals around China-Britain trade relations are looking fairly positive - China is in transition to becoming much more of a consumer led market, which bodes well for those services that the UK is renowned for, notably financial services and branding. "It is up to professional advisers such as those here today to guide businesses and help to accelerate this growth," commented Hedley. Currently, Britain sends only 4% of its total exports to China, a figure the British Government plans to increase significantly as part of a strategy to grow exports to £1 Trillion by 2020.

Head of International Services at Sherrards, Paul Marmor, emphasised the importance of China as an export partner for Britain, praising how China had transformed many of its cities from what could be described as 'backwaters' just 30 years ago into modern cities that are hugely attractive to international investors wanting to reach mass consumer markets.

Patience is a virtue

"Gain their trust and you will be half way to success." Laurel Zhang, Sherrards Solicitors

Sherrards was also represented by Laurel Zhang, Head of the firm's China & Far East Desk, who explained not only the legal landscape across China's 12 main cities, but also the need for patience and spending long hours with partners and potential investors: "Gain their trust and you will be half way to success." Laurel explained that each region in China is very different, with each having its own policies and procedures. Keeping English law as the governing law and English courts as the jurisdiction in a contract were also steps recommended by Laurel, a Mandarin speaking native who originates from Beijing.

Jon Luk, partner at Alliotts and head of the firm's China Desk, provided useful tips on Chinese business culture, emphasising that it is right to mix business and pleasure and to dress formally. Jon also reiterated that Chinese people do not like to lose face or be embarrassed, and that 8 is a very lucky number!

Barclays' speakers Georgina Hemington and Simon Oliver highlighted that when trading with China, timescales can get dragged out, particularly in terms of shipping and getting paid. Attendees were advised to manage cashflow and currency risks very carefully.

Partnership is key to cracking the Chinese market

A key theme that surfaced time and time again at this event was the role played by trust in China - speakers were keen to emphasise the necessity of working closely with local partners and experienced professional advisers to ensure the correct route to market, protection of intellectual property, etc. When trading with China, it is important to have the right connections - any business looking at China will be in good hands with the local accounting and law members of Alliott Group based in the UK but also throughout China and the Far East.

And finally, attendees were advised to know their limits when drinking the Chinese spirit Baijiu - it is 60% proof and not to be taken lightly in the company of potential business partners!

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