The Chinese Wave of Investment

On the horizon lies an impending wave, ready to continue hitting the shores of the UK with no sign of dying down.

If you have been following Sino-UK related news, you will be aware that Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to the UK has signalled an astonishing £18bn deal of Chinese investment in the UK. 

But this shouldn’t raise any eyebrows; the UK has been witness to a recent influx of deals with the Chinese, resulting in the handover of many quintessential British brands.

Yes, this is the wave of Chinese investment. 

So today we will look further into understanding the growth of Chinese investment in the UK.

Buckle up, the tide is rising.

Current investments


As relations continue to strengthen and China carries on developing at her rapid pace, one can only expect there to be a greater involvement from China, not least to enhance her presence on the global economic stage.  But do you know your Pizza from your Cereal?

Below is a breakdown of current Chinese investment deals in the UK.

1. Pizza Express

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Two weeks ago, the famed pizza restaurant chain which opened in London in 1956 was sold to a Chinese firm for around £… This follows the recent opening of its first restaurant in Beijing, although pizza express already boasts 68 internationally.

2. House of Fraser

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This year, the British department store chain was valued at £450m in deal with Sanpower – Sanpower, owned by one of China’s richest man, owns China’s oldest department store.

3. London Black Cabs

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Big Ben, Parliament, The London Eye and Black Cabs. These four instantly conjure images of London and all its glory. But the production of black cabs was halted after Maganese Bronze fell into administration. After six months, Chinese company Geely Group came to the rescue with its £150m investment plea into the London Taxi Company.

4. Crystal Palace (Image: original Crystal Palace design)

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The once iconic symbol of British architecture that met its demise during the fire of ’36 has been given a new lease of life from the East. Shanghai investment company ZhongRong plans to rebuild Crystal Palace in the coming few years.

5. Weetabix

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Much to people’s disbelief, the definitive British breakfast cereal produced in Britain since 1932, was sold to the Chinese firm Bright Foods in 2012.

6. Royal Albert Docks (Image: standard.co.uk)

Albert Docks
Last year The Mayor, Boris Johnson, announced a £1bn business deal to transform London’s historic docklands by ABP China (Holding), a successful Chinese commercial developer. At the forefront of this is the hope to create “a gateway for Asian and Chinese business seeking to establish headquarters in Europe as well as other businesses wanting to set up in the capital” (www.london.gov.uk).


What’s in store for the future? 


For Sino-UK business relations, the road to greater investment opportunities seems a bright and successful one, with both countries already involved in talks concerning Crossrail, HS2, The Thames Tunnel and the 3rd Heathrow Runway.

Furthermore China’s Dalian Wanda Group is becoming a major player in foreign investment for the capital – the first overseas Dalian Wanda luxury hotel will be built in London amidst an estimated investment worth of £700 million. The Chinese firm is also interested in investing nearly 5 billion in renovation projects around London.


Long-term implications?


Foreign investment inevitably comes with its pros and con. A disadvantage which many believe will be the main result of China ‘buying up’ London at an unprecedented pace is that the UK, especially the capital, will become entirely dependent on foreign investment for growth, hindering the stability of the economy.

But as the Chinese saying goes ‘Lì dàyú bì; the advantages will surely outweigh the disadvantages.

Sino-UK business and cultural relations will continue to strive, countless more jobs will be available in various different sectors and the greater presence of China can spur a better cultural awareness amongst the general public.

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