As China continues to talk about opening up its economy, foreign investors keen on doing business there must be patient, cautioned former U.K. Treasury minister Lord James Sassoon.
Long-term relationships are key to corporate dealings on the mainland, Sassoon told CNBC at the China Development Forum in Beijing.
"They want to see people who are their friends in conjunction with great companies that have something to offer in this market either for consumers or in technology or in professional services. It's that combination."
He noted that many of the individuals at the forum have been present on the mainland for at least two decades.
Hailing from the historic Sassoon family, who were dubbed the "Rothschilds of the East" for their merchant empire across Asia, Lord Sassoon is currently chairman of the China-Britain Business Council as well as director of Jardine Matheson, Dairy Farm, Hongkong Land, Mandarin Oriental and Jardine Lloyd Thompson.
"Chinais continuing to open up to foreign countries...It's a question of, not the direction of travel, but the speed of travel," Sassoon said. "Business people always want to go faster."