UK Most Desirable Market in Europe for Business Expansion

          UK Most Desirable Market in Europe for Business Expansion

  PR Newswire

  LONDON, June 10, 2014

LONDON, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

 World business leaders select UK as the second most desirable country in the
          world for businesses to expand into - narrowly behind US 

The UK has been selected as Europe's most desirable country, and second in the
world, by companies looking to expand their business overseas, according to
The art of connecting global business, an international report published by
BT.

The report surveys 1150 business decision makers based in 13 regions around
the globe, exploring the reasons for international expansion, which markets
are desirable and why, the effects of being a 'digital first' economy and
barriers to expansion.

BT is launching the report to mark the opening of the International Festival
for Business (IFB) 2014, a 50-day festival taking place in Liverpool, UK, in
June and July. It will be a global showcase for great UK industry, bringing
together business leaders from 125 countries to release the potential of
economic growth. BT is an official partner for IFB 2014, the biggest business
event of the year.

The survey finds that an overwhelming 80 per cent of business decision makers
believe that international expansion is highly essential for the success of
their organisation. Seventy-five per cent say that growth opportunities are
the main reason prompting them to look to expand overseas. The survey also
highlights several technology factors that businesses look for when expanding
into other countries, with 62 per cent of respondents flagging the quality of
IT infrastructure and services, 60 per cent the quality of digital and
communications infrastructure and 52 per cent the IT skills of the workforce
as being important in decision-making.

Luis Alvarez, chief executive officer, BT Global Services, said: "It's great
to see so many executives around the world aiming for international growth.
Those countries rated as highly desirable places to expand into not only have
economic potential but the right blend of business culture underpinned by an
extensive digital infrastructure, skills and sound regulation. In this
environment BT is delighted to play a key part in helping take UK business to
the world and in bringing world business back to the UK." 

Despite the rise of the 'BRICS' (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South
Africa) and 'MINT' (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) economies, the
report finds that established markets remain the most desirable to expand
into.

Overall, the US is the most desirable for expansion (33 per cent), followed by
the UK (30 per cent), China (29 per cent), Hong Kong (27 per cent) and Germany
(26 per cent). The top three countries were ranked highly based on their
potential customer base and the average affluence and disposable income of
their citizens.

The UK is widely cited for the perceived quality of its governance and
regulation around IT security and data protection. Thirty seven per cent of
respondents highlighted this as an attractive characteristic, reflecting the
importance of the quality of IT infrastructure to expansion plans. More than
half (51%) of respondents in India see the UK as highly desirable.

The survey also highlights the countries that UK businesses believe to be
highly desirable for international expansion. The US comes out top (33 per
cent), followed by Germany (29 per cent) and then China (28 per cent), with
their potential customer bases being cited as the most important reason.

Significantly, 91 per cent of businesses say that if a country is a
"digital-first" economy then this is of "great help" when expanding into it.
"Digital-first" economies are those which have a ubiquitous, nationwide, high
speed internet connection.

The challenges that organisations face when they are looking to expand
internationally are also emphasised. Thirty seven per cent of firms globally
still don't have the technologies needed to achieve their international
ambitions. This is the top internal barrier to international expansion, ahead
of personnel issues (31 per cent), logistics (30 per cent) and regulation and
tariffs (29 per cent).

Alvarez continued: "It's clear that many firms aren't equipped with the
communications and IT networks needed to deliver success. Networks can
transform the environment in which businesses operate, at home and abroad,
allowing entrepreneurs to orchestrate their business and bringing people
together to help them share skills and solve problems. They help identify
opportunities and allow us to deliver great business outcomes."

Crispin Simon, chief executive officer of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI),
said: "We are making the UK the best place to start and grow businesses and I
am pleased that this report reinforces our position as the number one location
for inward investment in Europe."

"The UK has always thrived on openness and we realise that the welcome we
extend to those who invest here is critical to securing our country's long
term future."

"Inward investment from high growth markets such as China is at an all-time
high and UKTI will be working hard at the International Festival for Business
to encourage more international firms to set up and grow their businesses
here, creating jobs and growth for the UK economy."

Max Steinberg CBE, chair of IFB 2014, comments: "The International Festival
for Business will be the perfect time to showcase the optimism and investment
opportunities that Britain has to offer. BT and UKTI are working hard to
demonstrate Britain's competitive advantage. This research shows the rapid
rise of our status in the global economy. It leaves me hugely confident for
the connections and export growth that will occur as the world's business
community gathers in Liverpool this summer."

For further information 

All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

About BT and business 

BT's technology helps businesses around the world every day.It provides
communications services to around 900,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises
in the UK and to more than 6,500 corporate and public sector organisations in
countries across the world.

BT is investing in the UK's future through fibre broadband roll-out and its
significant investment in research and development (£3.7 billion over the last
five years). Earlier this year, BT announced it was creating more than 1,000
new apprenticeship and graduate jobs.

About IFB 

Comprising more than 200 world-class events running throughout June and July,
the International Festival for Business (IFB) is a key part of the
government's ambition to promote economic growth and rebalance the economy. 

Backed by UKTI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the CBI, and with BT
and Santander as lead corporate sponsors, the Festival will help connect
British businesses with new markets, new partners and new products, in a major
push to double UK exports by 2020 and to increase inward investment into the
UK.

BT is involved in a number of IFB events over its seven-week duration
including: the British Business Embassy/UKTI opening event; the Global
Economic Forum, where Sir Mike Rake and Luis Alvarez will be speaking; the BT
Global City Leaders' Summit, when more than 400 city leaders and mayors from
around the world will agree a manifesto for growth, and which includes a
speech by Gavin Patterson; and Accelerate2014, which celebrates
entrepreneurial and SME success. 

Other events where BT will have a presence include the Horasis Global India
Business Meeting, Global Universities of the 21st century, the International
Banking and Finance Forum and the International Sport Business Congress.

About  The art of connecting global business   The art of connecting global
business: A barometer of executives '  views on the opportunities and
challenges of international growth is a new report commissioned by BT based on
survey of 1,150 company executives based in 13 regions worldwide. The
companies covered by the sample each employ over 100 staff and are all in the
process of, or are considering, international expansion. The survey was
conducted by international market research agency Vanson Bourne on BT's
behalf. It can be downloaded from http://www.bt.com/ifb-research-2014

About BT 

BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and
solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal
activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local,
national and international telecommunications services to its customers for
use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and
services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services.BT consists
principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT
Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group's reported revenue was £18,287m
with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group
plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.BT
Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit http://www.btplc.com .

Contact: Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group
Newsroom on its 24-hour number: +44-(0)20-7356-5369. From outside the UK dial
+44-20-7356-5369.
 
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