What do we know about the new wave of Chinese companies “going global”?

👉 Hot topics – New wave of Chinese companies “going global”, Apple moving closer to China, the allures of HK to global tech incubators and accelerators

  • “CHU HAI 出海” – Going Global

“Going global” has re-emerged as a hot keyword again, clearly. Also clear are the headwinds and obstacles they face along the way, and the subtle change of attitudes or sentiment, too. Two recent reports confirmed this.

First, Overview of China outbound investment of 2023, by EY China Overseas Investment Network, shows “non-financial ODI experienced rapid growth, while China overseas M&A value achieved growth with notable increase in large transactions”.

Notably, TMT and health & life science sectors dominated in North America and Europe, and primary sectors by deal value included TMT, advanced manufacturing & mobility and health care & life sciences. Going deeper, we found that Key M&A destinations included the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, accounting for 83% of the total deal value. Among these, the largest announced M&A deal in Europe involved a Chinese enterprise securing exclusive overseas development and commercialization rights for a specific cancer treatment drug from a renowned British pharmaceutical company.

Second, 2023 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK. This is the 4th consecutive year for the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK(CCCUK) to release its annual survey result. It aims to offer an overview of, as well as insights into, the state and trajectory of  Chinese enterprises in the UK. High-quality development achieved and areas of potential future bilateral collaborations are highlighted for the latest report, along with detailed descriptions on local sentiments of Chinese enterprises in the UK against the backdrop of the current business environment, their operational and development opportunities and challenges. More on this below in the Insights section.

  • Apple moving closer to China?

According to Nikkei Asia, Apple is trying hard to strike a balance between politics and business by deepening its ties with China even as it further expands production in Southeast Asia and India. The news agency’s analysis of Apple’s latest official list of suppliers shows an increase in its China-headquartered suppliers and Chinese manufacturing sites in 2023 while using fewer suppliers from Taiwan, the U.S, Japan and South Korea.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a week-long visit to China in March, where he met with executives from key suppliers like iPad assembler BYD and glass materials maker Lens Technology, and high-ranking Chinese officials as well. He announced the expansion of Apple’s R&D centre in Shanghai at the opening ceremony of a flagship store in the city.  He was quoted by China Daily as saying , “There’s no supply chain in the world that’s more critical to us than China,” according to state-owned media China Daily.

It was last year when China claimed iPhones could have security concerns, and pressures are mounting from Chinese rivals including Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi. Apple’s strategy contrasts with that of American peers like Dell, which aims to phase out all China-built chips and components, and HP, which has told suppliers to build capacity in Southeast Asia and Mexico.

  • HK and tech… incubators, accelerators from around the world

HK has more to offer than you’d imagine when it comes to tech innovation, and commercialisation, judging by a recent SCMP report on two latest high-profile corporate moves: a Shanghai-headquartered biomedical research accelerator, ATLATL Innovation Centre, and California-headquartered Founder Institute setting up offices in HK to cultivate start-ups locally.

These two are among over 60 Chinese and foreign enterprises and academic and research institutions “forged a partnership” with the HK-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park (HSITP) in April, as SCMP reported.

Further reading:


  • Chinese businesses in the UK – what they are thinking, how they are managing, and the shape of the future trajectories

“(Chinese companies in the UK) surveyed increasingly make business decisions at the China-based parent company level and are becoming more cautious about new investments and acquisitions in the UK,” as the proportion of entrepreneurs doing so went up from 19% in 2020 to 41% in 2023, according to a survey report.

The “2023 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK”,by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK) was presented  in mid-March at a roundtable organised by the IoD China group to discuss what Chinese businesses are thinking of the current business environment in the UK, the sentiment and areas for potential business collaborations.

More about the report here.

  • Healthcare in the UK and China – business environment, market conditions and investment opportunities

Trends, Insights, Data and Case Studies: UK-China Healthcare 2024, the panel discussed all those and more. Crayfish organised an online panel a few weeks ago to look at the UK-China healthcare cross-border business environment in 2024.

You can catch up on the webinar, with an overview and recording, here, if you missed it. More details and some highlights can be found here.

👉 Other news you might be interested in…

Ting hosting a panel at ZGC ITTN Trade Fair 2024

What does it take to be a tech transfer professional ? How to create powerful digital tools to empower tech transfer and commercialization in the new information tech field such as IoT? Any lessons learnt? Crayfish Founder & CEO Ting Zhang chaired a panel  discussion among industry insiders and stakeholders during the 2024 ZGC Forum which happened in Beijing, April 24 – 29.

Read more here.

While on the train from Beijing to Shanghai after hosting the panel on ZGC Forum, Ting got a WeChat message from a friend in Cambridge, a snap of a copy of the Business Weekly newspaper – look who she found there! Yes, that was a two-page story based on Ting’s talk with Andrew Bickley at Cambridge Mechatronics Ltd . You can read it here 👇

Keep growing – the success story of a Cambridge-based technology company in China

And finally…

We are partnering with Cambridge Tech Week 2024,  taking place in #Cambridge 9-13 Sept, with an impressive line-up of speakers and topics that will bring together the UK and global #tech ecosystem!

This the second time Crayfish is actively involved in this event.  As an official partner of CTW24, we will be promoting it in China, bringing in investors and tech firms to be part of the excitement and action.

Read more about it here. For the programme and tickets here.