LONDON, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Britain was the most attractive destination in Europe for foreign direct investment in 2013 due to its "quality of life, diversity, culture and language," a survey published Monday said.
Britain's place elevated from eighth to fifth in the worldwide ranking of countries that investors see as attractive over the next three years. [ It had overtaken Germany for the first time, with only China, the United States, India and Brazil now ahead of it, the survey conducted by global advisory company EY said.
In 2013, the number of foreign direct investment projects in Britain increased by 14.6 percent to 799, surpassing the previous high of 728 recorded in 2010 and Britain's market share rose to one fifth of all European projects, close to its record high over the last decade, according to the survey.
"The project data for 2013 and the results of our perceptions collected by the survey highlight four key drivers of Britain's performance," said Francis Small, partner of EY UK.
The first was the strength and consistency of Britain's appeal across a wide range of attributes that are important to investors, Small said.
Britain's main attractions to foreign investors were its quality of life, diversity, culture and language, with 90 percent rating this criterion as very or fairly attractive, according to the survey.
Other interesting factors include technology and telecommunications infrastructure, stability of the social climate, stability and transparency of the political, legal and regulatory environment, education in trade and academic disciplines and local labor skills levels.
The second driver was the strength of Britain's attractiveness to existing foreign investors in the country. Some studies had showed companies that have invested here tend to be more positive about Britain's attributes for foreign investment, and more likely to continue to invest in the country in the future, Small said.
The third factor was financing, taxation, support for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as for key industries, Small said.
The main business tax rate in Britain had been reduced from 33 percent to 20 percent over the past 20 years, the lowest in the Group of 20 major economies of the world.
Finally, Britain benefited from the apparently irresistible draw of London, the country's jewel in the crown and Europe's leading city for foreign investment, Small said.
The number of projects going to London rose by more than one fifth in 2013 and accounted for nearly half of all investments in Britain, with particular strength in areas such as research and development, according to the survey.
However, Britain lagged behind Germany in attracting new projects from first-time investors, and in securing projects from some of the world's fastest-growing sources of foreign investment -- notably China. China ranked sixth among the country's top ten origins of investment.
Britain was also still punching below its weight in attracting manufacturing projects, securing just 12 percent of manufacturing investments into Europe compared to its 20 percent share of overall foreign investment projects.
"As the UK economy continues to recover from the recent downturn, these figures signal rising global confidence both in the long-term outlook for the UK and the country's positive environment for business," said Ian Livingston, minister of state for trade and investment.
"The key to our success is government and business working hand in hand to help Britain prosper. We will focus even more on investment from export-orientated companies and fast-growing economies, while promoting the attractiveness of all regions of the UK," Livingston added.