Go east: City body to expand into China and India

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The Independent Online

The Corporation of London, the authority that looks after the interests of one of the richest square miles of real estate in the World, is eyeing expansion in China and India.

Sensing the growing economic power in the East and the potential opportunities this could offer City firms, the Corporation is considering plans to establish permanent representation in the two countries.

"China and India are now very big markets and they can potentially offer a huge amount of work for City firms," said Michael Snyder, chairman of the Corporation's policy and resources committee. "Therefore, we are looking at establishing a representation in these companies to show that we are engaged to facilitate business."

India has grown in importance with the development of its service economy, allowing British firms to outsource many customer service and IT functions to the country.

China's rampant economy has seen many domestic companies forge links with the West. This has included Shanghai Automotive's proposed tie-up with MG Rover and computer group Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's personal computer business.

"There is potentially an enormous amount of work for the City firms - legal, banking and accounting. China faces big challenges, for example, turning companies owned by the state into ones owned by shareholders. We can help them learn from the UK," said Mr Snyder.

Many US firms are also looking for a slice of the business, especially in China. Mr Snyder said: "Of course there is an element of competition with Wall Street. It is healthy: it ensures that we sharpen our pencils."

Earlier this month he established links with Chinese businesses on a trade visit with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Paul Boateng.