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Penn: We should embrace the Chinese investors!

Brodrick Penn. File photo

Brodrick Penn. File photo

Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office Brodrick Penn said the government is ‘right’ to be welcoming Chinese investors, especially considering the current financial climate in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

He said a large number of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in China are using what is called a ‘Go Global Strategy’ that encourages them to invest in foreign markets.

That is an opportunity on which the BVI should capitalize, Penn declared.

He reasoned that the move could see the BVI pulling thousands of SMEs from China.

“Imagine the potential of volume of companies that would flow to the BVI if we were to facilitate what I would call a ‘Go Global’ type company. If we did this for only a fraction of the business entrepreneurs that wish to go global, we’re talking tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of companies.”

Penn, who was speaking at a recent forum hosted by MWM Business Network, said the Chinese investors are looking for places like the BVI.

“They are looking for strategic partners like the BVI who is a trusted household name to partner with them and to help them go global. The immediate opportunity for this is the financial services.”

Penn added that investments from China could take the BVI to the next level, especially considering the international pressures facing the territory’s main revenue earner – financial services.

“We need to embrace it and if we don’t we are not going to be able to take the BVI to the next level. What the government is doing; I think it’s the right thing. From where I sit in financial services, we’re really at a crossroads and we really have to find ways to figure out ways to diversify the economy, and I don’t think we can do it without entrepreneurship. I don’t think we can do it without innovation even in the current industries that we have,” added the permanent secretary in the Premier’s Office.

The BVI government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the China to promote ‘economic and trade cooperation’ between the two countries.

“The opportunities are abound and we – the government – have are establishing the relationships where we think we can have mutual learning and benefits,” added Penn.

He was part of a 29-member BVI delegation led by Premier Dr D Orlando Smith that visited China in October last year to facilitate trade talks.

Penn said he gained first-hand knowledge in relation to the possibility of financial growth that BVI would see from partnering with the Chinese.

He stated that the BVI could learn much from the Chinese in areas such as Financial Technology (FinTech) and E-commerce.

Fintech is an area that has to do with computer programmes and technology used to support banking and financial services. E-commerce relates to conducting transactions over the internet.

“Given the diversity and volume of Chinese businesses, there are also great opportunities for other value-added activities – some of which our government is currently considering. Of course, we can only have a competitive edge here if we remain a little bit discrete about them until the time is right. In due course, you will hear more from us in that regard,” Penn further said.

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