The UK is Europe's top destination for business expansion, according to research commissioned by BT.
Its report – The Art of Connecting Global Business – questioned 1,150 business decision makers in 13 regions around the globe.
A significant 80 per cent of those surveyed believed international expansion is "highly essential" for the success of their organisation. A further 75 per cent said that growth opportunities are the main reason for looking to overseas expansion.
The results also highlighted several technology factors that businesses look for when expanding to other territories – with 62 per cent picking on 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.
Luis Alvarez, chief executive of 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.”
Despite the rise of the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) economies, the report claimed that established markets remained the most desirable to expand into.
Overall, the US was found to be the most desirable market 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 was 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.
Indeed more than half (51 per cent) of respondents in India see the UK as highly desirable.
From a UK perspective, the countries most desirable for expansion were the US (33 per cent), Germany (29 per cent) and China (28 per cent).
Crispin Simon, chief executive 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.”
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