Open for business in China.

The news that Beijing is to host the 2008 Olympics may have upset human rights activists, but it showed just how far China has come in opening up to the rest of the world.

It has inevitably been a slow adopter of the internet – currently there are only 26.5m ‘netizens’ in a country that boasts a population of more than one billion – but the rate of take-up has been nothing short of phenomenal over the past couple of years. Such growth has been accompanied with an increasing sophistication in the use of the internet for promoting the People’s Republic to foreign investors.

A once daunting country is now able to reach a world of potential investors and companies that previously did not have easy access to information.

If you are considering such a move, or are simply heading to the PRC on a business trip, the China Britain Business Council is a very good starting point.

Its website ( has the simple aim of ‘helping you do business in China’ and in this respect it succeeds.

An otherwise excellent site, it is let down by not maintaining its library online – this looks like a very helpful resource – and its China guide pages, which are still under construction.

But it wins with its detailed web link pages, which can help the surfer find a number of other Chinese business-related sites.

The website for the British Chambers of Commerce in China also scores well.

At you can read a series of business briefs on the do’s and don’ts of setting up and running a business in China.

All the chamber’s publications are available online, and the site has an extensive list of links to other China-related sites.

Curiously, the ‘events’ section has zero content – it is hard to believe the chamber is not hosting any events in either the UK or Beijing.

Not very well signposted, but useful once you find them are details of the chamber’s activities in the major Chinese cities. Also tucked away at the bottom of the site is a link to all the Chinese government websites, many of which have English translations.

One link that features in both these sites takes you though to the government-backed Going to the China desk pages, you can easily find information on doing business in China.

A novel feature is the site’s ‘export fitness test’ where you can find out online if you should be doing business abroad in the first place.

The site also has a detailed ‘opportunities’ section which has information on a number of ‘target’ sectors such as engineering, oil and gas and construction.

It is a slick, well-researched site demonstrating the government’s commitment to doing business abroad.

There are plenty of news sites giving updates on current events in the PRC.

One of the best is It has a good business news section, including its ‘bdu’ – business daily update.

The metrofile section tells you what is on in the various cities, and itchina is a particularly good read – this week the site launched the first ever online news cartoon site.

Related reading