Globalization Handbook · UK Chapter | The First Scientific Innovation Center in Europe, why the UK?


Author:Deng Yunxi
Source: 36kr

At the moment when the dividend of domestic Internet has peaked, more and more Chinese entrepreneurs and investors have begun to pay attention to "globalization". In 2021, 36 krypton will go to seaContinue to launch globalization manualTo explain the basic features, cultural environment, market characteristics and entrepreneurial opportunities of Germany, France, Britain and other European countries one by one. I learned aboutGermanyFranceLater, we will take the reader to know about the "British Isles" across the sea from France.

Britain, located in the northwest corner of Europe, is a highly developed country and the second largest economy in Europe. Its citizens have a very high standard of living and a good social security system. This country, which covers an area of about 240000 square kilometers and is close to Guangxi Province, is home to well-known giants such as Virgin Group, HSBC, AstraZeneca, Vodafone, and 37 Unicorn companies, ranking first among the four largest economies in Europe.

So, how did Britain become a "sun never sets empire"? What are the pillar industries? What about the venture capital environment? Today, let's find the answer together.

Basic information of the country

Geographical Environment and History

The full name of the United Kingdom is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". It is an island country composed of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the island of Great Britain, with a land area of about 240000 square kilometers.

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Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

In fact, the formation of Britain has gone through a long and complicated process.

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From a historical perspective, the British Isles were ruled by the powerful Roman Empire for more than 300 years. In the Middle Ages, the Danes and Anglo Saxons (a branch of the Germanic people) fought here for several centuries. It was not until 1066 that the Norman Dynasty was established and the royal period officially came. After the baptism of several dynasties, George V, the great grandfather of the Queen today, founded the Windsor Dynasty in 1917.

Population and age

According to the statistics of the World Bank in 2020, the population of Britain is about 67 million, which is basically the same as that of France. Although the population is only about 5% of that of China, Britain is a highly urbanized country with more than 80% urban population. At the same time, compared with Germany, Italy and France, the UK is also the "youngest" country among the four major economies, with a median age of 40.5 years. Compared with the oldest Germany, the median age of the UK is nearly 7 years younger.

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Britain is a country that attaches great importance to education popularization, according to the United Nations Association of Great Britain(UNA-UK)According to statistics, the literacy rate in Britain has reached 99%. It is not only located in Oxford University, Cambridge University, Imperial College and other top universities in the world, but also in Eton Public School, Queen Elizabeth College and Harrow Public School.

It is reported that the British education system is mainly divided into four parts: primary Education, Secondary Education, further Education and higher Education. Unlike China's nine-year compulsory education, the UK's compulsory education lasts for 12 years, from the age of 5 to 16. In the last two years of secondary school, British students began to prepare for the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exam (similar to the Chinese high school entrance exam).

After obtaining GCSE, British students can choose to continue their studies, take A-Level courses, or choose vocational schools. Different from the curriculum in Chinese high schools, A-Level is usually a two-year program with a very detailed classification of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, economics, law, etc., which is equivalent to the basic courses in universities. Higher education in Britain includes undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees. Among them, the undergraduate education system in Britain is generally 3-year, while that in Scotland is generally 4-year.

Economic and entrepreneurial ecology

Britain is an old capitalist country. After the famous industrial revolution, Britain quickly rose to become the "world's largest country", and even was once known as the "sun never sets empire". In 2019, Brexit has become a global topic, and the impact of the epidemic has had a significant impact on the British economy, resulting in a 9.9% drop in GDP in 2020.

From the perspective of venture capital environment, the UK has always been regarded as a country with a very good business environment, and has even been rated by Forbes magazine as the "most suitable country for business in the world" for several consecutive years. London, its capital, is not only a global financial center, but also one of the top entrepreneurial centers. At the same time, the UK is also one of the "most gold attracting" countries in the world. According to the research results released by Dillum and the London Development Promotion Agency, in 2020, the total amount of capital raised by London start-ups and growth enterprises reached US $10.5 billion, accounting for a quarter of all European investment.

Economic situation

To sum up, the UK is one of the richest, most economically developed and highest living standards countries in the world. According to the statistics of the World Bank in 2020, the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) is about 2.7 trillion, ranking fifth in the world, second in Europe, and second only to Germany. However, both Brexit and the epidemic have had an impact on the British economy. According to the data released by the British National Bureau of Statistics, Britain's GDP shrank by 9.9% in 2020, the largest decline since 1709.

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From the perspective of British people's living standards, Britain is a high-income country. According to the IMF data in 2021, the per capita GDP of this country is 46000 US dollars, which is the second highest among the four largest economies in Europe, namely Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, and is only 50700 US dollars less than Germany. However, in the past 10 years, the gap between the rich and the poor among British citizens has been growing. According to the data of the Office for National Statistics, from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2020, the income share of the rich class, which accounts for 1% of the population, increased from 7% to 8.3%.

B2b globalization manual · UK | The first scientific innovation center in Europe, why the UK?

industrial structure

Speaking of the industrial structure, as a former industrial power and now a service industry power, Britain's pillar industries have also experienced the process of transition from industry to service industry.

It is understood that since the first industrial revolution (18th century), Britain, as the birthplace, has rapidly transformed from an agricultural society to a world leading industrial power, and industry has become the economic foundation of the country. However, after World War II, with the arrival of the wave of new technological change, Britain, which stuck to its traditional industrial advantages, was overtaken by the United States, Germany, Japan and other countries that actively promoted technological innovation. Coupled with the outbreak of the first oil crisis and the two economic recessions, Britain, which was hit by multiple shocks, finally accelerated its transformation from an industrial to a service oriented industry in the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, after decades of development, the service industry has become the most important pillar industry in Britain. According to the data from the British government website (GOV.UK), in 2020, the service industry will account for about 71.3% of its GDP, compared with about 17.4% of industry.

Specifically, the service industry in Britain covers a wide range, including tourism, financial services, commercial services, retail and consumer centered industries. Among them, the British financial industry is very developed, and London, the capital, is also one of the most important financial centers in the world. It is understood that London is the world's largest foreign exchange trading market, the largest spot gold trading market and the largest derivatives trading market. In addition, more than 500 multinational banks and 170 international securities companies have set up branches or offices in London. The epidemic has had a huge impact on the British service industry, especially the catering and tourism industries. According to the UK Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) data in March 2020 released by the UK information provider IHS Markit, the performance of the service industry is far below expectations. Compared with 53.2 in February, the PMI of the service industry in March was 35.7, falling below the 50 threshold, a record low.

Entrepreneurship environment

Britain is a country with a very good business environment and a "resort" for entrepreneurship. According to the statistics of the House of Commons Library, there will be 665495 newly established start-ups in the UK from 2019 to 2020, which is equivalent to 1823 enterprises established every day. According to the statistics of CB Insights, as of November 2021, there are 37 Unicorn enterprises in the UK, which is the largest number of countries among the four economies.

Not only that, Forbes will select the most suitable country for business every year based on 15 indicators including property rights, innovation environment, tax system, technology, labor, corruption, investment protection and quality of life. The UK has won the crown for several consecutive years, becoming the "most suitable country for business in the world". In the 2020 ranking, the UK is the only four European economies on the list. So what created such a good entrepreneurial environment in Britain?

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First of all, it is very convenient and fast to register a company in the UK, and the threshold is low. According to the statistics of the World Bank, it only takes 13 days to establish a company in the UK and start business, while it takes 32 days on average in other European countries. At the same time, the registration standards of British companies are relatively low, and there are no restrictions on the country and registered capital of the registrant.

Secondly, the low tax rate is also the reason why Britain can attract a large number of entrepreneurs. In recent years, in order to mitigate the impact of Brexit and the epidemic on the economy and society of the country, the British government plans to attract entrepreneurs through a series of preferential tax policies to stimulate the economy. Among them, the government plans to attract enterprises by reducing the corporate income tax from 19% to 12.5%, which is the third reduction since 2017. Today, Britain is one of the countries with the lowest tax rate among developed countries.

Third, the UK has sound infrastructure and advanced communication networks. According to the data of the Office for National Statistics in 2020, the Internet penetration rate in the UK has reached 92%. In addition, the UK has a world-class transportation network and has become a hub to other European countries and the world.

Fourth, Britain's talent pool is also very perfect. According to the Times' ranking of world universities in higher education, Oxford University and Cambridge University of the United Kingdom are ranked in the top 10 in the world, and Oxford University has been ranked first for several consecutive years. In addition, more than a dozen universities in the UK have entered the top 100 in the world.

Hot track

When it comes to the hot industry in the UK, financial technology is still the most concerned field. At the same time, industries such as intelligent manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and aerospace industry are still hot. With the UK's emphasis on "environmental protection" and life science, industries related to environmental protection, energy, and human health have become a hot track.

Under the influence of the epidemic, offline retail industry suffered heavy losses, but online retail business grew significantly in 2020. According to Martin Jones, partner of UHY Hacker Young, in the second quarter of 2020 (the first blockade period), the UK will open an average of 4613 new online retail enterprises every month, an increase of 66% over the average monthly level in 2019 (2783). In January 2021, the proportion of online expenditure in the total retail expenditure in the UK also reached a record high of 36%.

According to the statistics of CB Insights, as of November 2021, of the 37 Unicorn enterprises in the UK, 22 are from the FinTech track, 3 are related to e-commerce retail, and 3 are related to health, insurance and energy.

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From the perspective of investment, according to Crunchbase data, the UK will raise 14.9 billion US dollars in 2020, accounting for 37% of the European total. There are many active venture capital institutions among them. According to the British business media Growth Business, the most active British local venture capital institution last year was Seedcamp, which completed 92 investments. In addition, the country's active venture capital also includes Index Ventures, Octopus Ventures, SFC Capital, Balderton Capital, LocalGlobe, Scottish Equity Partners, Atlantic Bridge and 7percent Ventures.

In addition, in 2020, the total financing amount of European start-ups only increased by 2%, the year-on-year growth of Britain and Italy was also 2%, France was 9%, and Germany was 7% lower.

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Data source: 2020 French Technology Venture Capital Report

In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), the Department of International Trade (DIT) released the Foreign Direct Investment Report for 2020-2021, which showed that in 2020, the number of FDI transactions in the United Kingdom was 17% less than that in 2019, rather than the 30% - 45% reduction previously predicted. At the same time, FDI has created and saved about 74,000 jobs in the UK. Among them, the new jobs in biotechnology and pharmacy increased by 66%, and the new jobs in life sciences increased by 25%.

The report also mentioned that Britain's future development will focus on promoting infrastructure upgrading, transforming to a net zero emission and green economy, and strengthening its status as a super scientific power. On this point, according to the news released by the British government website (GOV.UK) in November 2020, British Prime Minister Johnson released a "Ten Point Plan for Green Industrial Revolution". It is reported that the plan covers clean energy, transportation, nature, innovative technology and other fields, aiming to promote the UK to eliminate its factors leading to climate change by 2050. The plan will use more than 12 billion pounds of government funds to support and create up to 250000 high-tech green jobs nationwide, and aims to promote more than three times the private sector investment by 2030.

Focus on Chinese enterprises and capital in the UK

For Chinese enterprises and capital, the UK is the market that they focus on in Europe. Regarding the layout of Chinese enterprises in the United Kingdom, Fang Wenjian, General Manager of Bank of China London Branch and CCCUK, said that the total number of Chinese enterprises would increase from 13000 in 2019 to 15000 in 2020. There is no shortage of Chinese giants such as Huawei, Alibaba, Lenovo, Tencent, Geely and Wanda Group. They expand the British market by acquiring, investing in British enterprises, or directly landing (establishing data centers, service centers or European headquarters, etc.).

As for the investment of Chinese enterprises and capital in the UK, it is reported that the investment fields of Chinese enterprises in the UK have expanded from the original trade, finance (financial science and technology) and information technology to intelligent manufacturing, life science and technology, general health, automatic driving and other fields. In addition, according to the data of Grant Thornton, in the first half of 2021, China's investment in the UK reached the level before the epidemic, with a year-on-year increase of 44%. Among them, China Resources Group acquired Viridor, a British enterprise, for 4.2 billion pounds - the largest transaction since this year; In addition to China Resources, Tencent Holdings invested in three British companies in the first half of 2021, covering multiple fields: surgical robots, drug development and autonomous vehicle software.

After Brexit, it remains to be seen whether London will be replaced by Paris, which is rapidly rising.

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LET'S CHUHAI CLUB Sailing to Southeast Asia Salon - Beijing Station

On December 16, the fourth stop of "LET'S CHUHAI CLUB Sailing to Southeast Asia Series Salon" jointly sponsored by Singapore Economic Development Council and 36 Krypton Sailing to the Sea will arrive in Beijing. This activity will focus on the hot topics such as enterprise service companies' market strategies in Southeast Asia, how multinational enterprises break through cultural barriers, and discuss business opportunities and challenges for enterprises to go to Southeast Asia, so as to create a next-generation global enterprise.

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