The Government has pledged to improve the visa system to allow Chinese nationals to visit and do business in the UK more easily.

Home secretary Theresa May said Chinese applicants for visas would be offered a “faster service” in a private presentation to Cabinet last week.

Senior businessmen have been hampered in getting visas and had to wait weeks for the laborious process to be complete, The Telegraph reported.

Chinese tourists and investors have proved vital for UK retailers particularly in London’s West End. Chinese retail giant Bosideng, which has more than 8,000 retail outlets in China, opened its first store in the UK in South Molton Street, London, last year.

Earlier this year May said that critics of the system were “spreading a harmful message” and she was “proud” of the visa system.