China ‘an untapped opportunity’
Jersey has positioned itself strongly to support Chinese outbound investment and cross-border wealth management but a significant volume of work remains untapped, according to speakers at a recent event organised by HSBC.
Visiting guest speaker Sue Anne Tay, director of HSBC’s China and RMB internationalisation department, highlighted two areas where Jersey could be well positioned to build business.
‘The rise of China’s middle class, with its accompanying tastes and demand, is a fundamental force shaping what China is acquiring overseas today,’ she said.
‘This is reflected in a shift in overseas acquisitions from energy and commodities to a rising demand for technology, services and consumer brands. With that, we see a growing need for financial and professional services that can support their outbound investment.’
China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to develop infrastructure specifically designed to connect China and the rest of the world, particularly Europe, is perhaps the biggest initiative of the 21st century, with $900 bn in current and ongoing projects under way.
Another $140 bn was recently added in financial support, bringing infrastructure demand in Asia to $1.7 trillion per year until 2030.
‘That means accessing private and institutional capital will be vital,’ Sue Anne said.
‘Jersey’s strong access to the capital markets through, for instance, the London Stock Exchange and its specialist professional expertise in Europe has the opportunity to play a role here.’
Warwick Long, head of commercial banking, HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man, said Jersey had made good inroads into China over the past decade and seen a good volume of work, but the feeling was that the Island had barely scratched the surface.
‘What is clear is that the new generation of Chinese investors are not as cost-driven as previous generations and are much more hungry for quality services and expert knowledge, and Jersey’s positioning as a high-quality centre makes it ideally placed,’ Mr Long said.
‘Looking forward, the key will be in harnessing technology and embedding digital platforms to engage the market and tell our story. If we don’t do that, we will miss the boat.’