UK rolls out red car­pet for wealthy Chi­nese shop­pers, in­vestors

Re­tail­ers, ho­tels and banks re­spond as deal­mak­ers flood into London, re­ports Bloomberg.

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS -

In the 87-year his­tory of London’s Jack Bar­clay Bent­ley deal­er­ship, it had never held a Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tion. Un­til this year. In Fe­bru­ary, the deal­er­ship in­vited more than 200 wealthy Chi­nese ex­pa­tri­ates from fields such as fi­nance and the real es­tate to a Year of Horse-themed event un­der the slo­gan “take the reins for a pros­per­ous jour­ney”. Chi­nese-speak­ing staff were on hand.

“A quintessen­tially English deal­er­ship could be quite in­tim­i­dat­ing” for Chi­nese buy­ers, said Chris Har­ris, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for lux­ury au­to­mo­tive group HR Owen Plc, which owns Jack Bar­clay. “We wanted to de-mys­tify the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

From lux­ury re­tail­ers to law firms to banks, Lon­don­ers are jock­ey­ing to take ad­van­tage of a wave of Chi­nese in­vest­ment and tourism. With Rus­sia, In­dia and the Mid­dle East strug­gling with weak com­mod­ity prices, busi­nesses that cater to wealthy for­eign­ers are bet­ting Chi­nese money can make up the dif­fer­ence.

The prop­erty sec­tor is see­ing some of the most dra­matic in­crease, with real es­tate in­vest­ment in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal from China tripling from 2012 to 2013 to about $2.8 bil­lion, a fig­ure that will prob­a­bly be matched this year, ac­cord­ing to bro­ker Knight Frank.

Chi­nese-fi­nanced projects in­clude One Nine Elms, a 56-story apart­ment tower on the south bank of the Thames backed by de­vel­oper Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd.

Shang­hai-based Green­land Hold­ing Group Co this year said it would invest 1.2 bil­lion pounds ($1.88 bil­lion) re­de­vel­op­ing a brew­ery in the city and build­ing a res­i­den­tial tower near Ca­nary Wharf.

Chi­nese in­vestors are also mov­ing into cor­po­rate deal­mak­ing in United King­dom.

In July, pri­vate eq­uity firm Hony Cap­i­tal Ltd said it would buy the UK restau­rant chain Pizza Ex­press for about $1.4 bil­lion— the largest-ever cor­po­rate takeover in the United King­dom by a Chi­nese main­land company.

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