As the terms of a Brexit remain uncertain, U.K. businesses are looking to tap into the Chinese market, more so than ever.
British Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on a trip to China on Wednesday with a 50-strong business delegation, featuring sectors ranging from health care to clean energy, in her bid to cement Britain-China ties.
The trip comes amid British negotiations about an exit from the European Union, and those are giving the country an even greater need to look east, some observers said.
"Without detracting at all from the ongoing importance of EU trade to the U.K., there is an undoubted need to put much more effort into trade with the 93 percent of the world that does not live in Europe," said Michael Sippitt, chairman of Clarkslegal, a commercial law firm in the U.K.
"The geography is on China's side, the U.S. was always going to struggle with competing in Asia, so right now for the EU and the U.K. the center of world economic gravity is moving east and the best response of British businesses to Brexit is to move east as well."
Among the companies banking on this new era is health technology artificial intelligence start-up Medopad, which on Thursday inked 15 trade deals worth over 100 million pounds (about $143 million) with companies including Chinese tech giant Tencent, Ping An, GSK China and Lenovo.
Through remote patient monitoring apps and advanced analytics, Medopad offers health-care providers, pharmaceutical companies and insurance firms information, allowing them to improve medical diagnoses, develop more effective drugs and reward policyholders for healthy behavior.
Specifically, the partnership with Tencent will advance the use of AI in health-care platforms for research impact and clinical decision support.
"By working with the biggest names, Tencent being the largest technology company and doing collaborations on AI and areas that China is investing a lot of money into it, and us leveraging our medical knowledge, together we think we can add value to a lot of patients within China but also globally," CEO Dan Vahdat told CNBC.
Against a backdrop of China's ambitions for health-care reform and becoming a global leader in AI, Medopad may have hit a sweet spot.
Even less obvious sectors reported optimism during the trip.