Business / Markets

Record cash injection in UK by China, says diplomat

By Zhang Chunyan in London (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-30 07:36

Chinese investment in the UK over the past two years reached $13 billion, exceeding the total of the previous three decades, a senior Chinese diplomat said.

And China-UK bilateral trade reached a record high in 2013, exceeding $70 billion, said Zhou Xiaoming, minister counselor of the Chinese embassy in the UK.

"The strong momentum will continue this year," Zhou told China Daily recently.

He disclosed that Chinese investment in Britain reached more than $3 billion in 2013, including investment in high-end manufacturing, infrastructure, property, media, research and development center areas.

Britain is the main destination for outbound Chinese investment and attracts more investment than many European countries, he said.

Last year, more than 20 Chinese companies set up branches in the UK, also a record high, Zhou said, adding that Birmingham, Reading, Northampton and other areas all attracted Chinese investment.

Chinese firms have been keen to invest in the UK as they look to expand their global reach.

Among the Chinese companies that have announced plans to invest in the UK are Dalian Wanda Group Corp Ltd, one of China's largest and most ambitious conglomerates. It plans to invest up to 3 billion pounds ($5 billion) in regeneration projects in Britain.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the investment last Friday after meeting Dalian Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Before the latest plan, Dalian Wanda closed two deals last June, investing 700 million pounds to build a five-star hotel by the River Thames, which runs through London, and buying a 92 percent share of Sunseeker Yachts for 320 million pounds.

Network equipment giant Huawei has said it will invest 1.3 billion pounds in expanding its UK operations. The UK has welcomed Huawei's increased investment and expansion.

Beijing Construction Engineering Group will be part of a group investing 800 million pounds in Manchester Airport to develop its surrounding businesses.

"China will cooperate with the UK in infrastructure, including in the HS2 high-speed rail project and new nuclear power plants," Zhou said.

According to Zhou, China-UK bilateral trade increased by 11 percent in 2013, much higher than China's other EU trade partners.

China's exports to Britain rose 10 percent to $50.95 billion, while imports from Britain jumped 13.6 percent to $19.09 billion, he added.

On a visit to China last December, David Cameron sealed trade deals worth 5.6 billion pounds between the two countries.

This year has got off to a "new start", Zhou said, adding that the two countries have already seen several highlights in China-UK economic and trade links.

In January, the first Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) fund was launched on the London Stock Exchange.

The Bank of China's London branch issued 2.5 billion yuan bonds in Britain, the largest of any such issue. This is the first time a Chinese bank has issued renminbi bonds in London in the capacity of a branch.

The UK economy grew by 1.9 percent in 2013, its strongest rate since 2007, according to the British Office for National Statistics.

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