Currently they are among the world’s least likely to make the most of the opportunities arising from China’s economic growth and they trail substantially behind several south-east Asian countries, Australia and the US, according to the survey.

The survey canvassed more than 7000 owners of medium-sized businesses from 30 countries and, for the first time, included businesses from mainland China.

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It asked respondents whether they perceived mainland China’s economic development as an opportunity or threat to their business.

The survey found that 52% of Hong Kong companies, 51% Taiwanese companies, 37% of Philippines companies, 35% of Thai companies and 34% of US companies regarded the Chinese market as providing significant opportunities.

By comparison, in the UK 11% of companies saw China as an opportunity – on par with the EU’s result of 10%.

A high percentage of companies in the Philippines, Taiwan and Mexico regarded China’s economic boom as a significant threat to their business. In the UK, the figure was 18%.