Investment: Companies ready to seize opportunities
The previous summer, DalianWanda agreed to pay $451 million for Sunseeker International Ltd, a London manufacturer of yachts that sell for as much as $20 million.
The increased presence is partly a function of China’s diversifying economy, said Nicola Mayo, a partner at law firm Linklaters, who just returned to London after four years in Shanghai. “China Inc is looking strategically at more sectors beyond natural resources.”
Some companies are using deals in the UK to strengthen their position back home. Investment firm Sanpower Group this year took control of House of Fraser in a transaction valuing the Oxford Street department store at 450 million pounds. It is planning dozens of branches in China.
Pizza Express expects to build new restaurants in the Chinese mainland, where interest in Italian-style fare is rising.
Wang Haibo, a 38-year-old accountant from the coastal city of Dalian who moved to London a decade ago, can taste the change. A few years back, “the only food you could get was from Hong Kong”, he said. “Now, you can find every type of authentic Chinese food, from all the regions.”