The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last night met with China’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Liu Xiaoming, and more than 150 Chinese investors in a bid to strengthen trade and investment links.
Sadiq hailed the special relationship between London and China in a speech to Chinese business leaders at a reception at City Hall.
The reception was attended by investors from all sectors, including financial, tech, creative, media and real estate, to explore further investment opportunities and help Chinese companies looking to expand into London.
China is the second biggest overseas investor into London behind the US, and there was a 255 per cent increase in Chinese foreign direct investment projects to London from 2007 to 2017 according to data from London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional agency.
Since 2011, London and Partners has helped almost 200 Chinese companies to set up in London, generating 2,800 jobs. Therefore, China has accounted for 12 per cent of all FDI to London over this period.
Recent major Chinese investment projects in London have included Pudong Bank launching its new branch in London (February 2018) and China Mobile launching new businesses in the UK (December 2017) while HNA Airlines announced it will open a London-Changsha route this month in addition to the London-Qingdao route launched by Beijing Capital Airlines. China Central Television is also to launch its European Station in London.
At the event, London & Partners and the City of London Corporation also launched a digital hub for the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). The online platform will help to strengthen trade and investment ties between London and China by highlighting areas for collaboration and investment opportunities linked to the Belt and Road initiative.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Chinese businesses and the thriving Chinese community make a huge contribution to our city.
“As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, China is one of the leading sources of investment into the capital.
“The Belt and Road initiative will unlock a whole new range of opportunities for both London and Chinese businesses and will further strengthen economic and cultural links between our cities.”
According to recent research, the UK has identified £1.8 billion in additional annual GDP potential associated with the BRI.
China’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Liu Xiaoming said: “China offers opportunities for greater openness and cooperation.
“Our new measures to deepen reform and new steps to open up further to the world, coupled with the new phase of the China-UK ‘Golden Era’, will bring unprecedented new opportunities to the world, the UK included.
“I hope the business communities of China and the UK will match our comparative strengths, work together in tapping the third-country markets and enhance communication and exchanges across the board in order to take our trade and economic cooperation to a new high, enrich our business cooperation and deepen our friendship and mutual trust.
“Let us join hands to bring out the vim and vigour of London, and write a new splendid chapter of the China-UK ‘Golden Era’!”
The Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, is currently on a visit to China promoting British business.
The Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, said: “London’s financial and professional services industry is ideally placed to support the success of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“As I continue a nine day visit to China, I have been delivering this exact message, telling Chinese business and government leaders just how much London, and the UK, has to offer.
“As the natural western hub of the Belt and Road, the City of London is happy to support this ambitious infrastructure and development project.”
Ms Lei Zhang, General Manager of China Mobile International (UK) Limited, attended the event and said: “China Mobile International chose London and the UK as the place to set up its first service outside of China because of the growing business and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
“London has everything we need to be able to set up this new service and to rapidly grow our business here while fostering open exchange between Belt and Road companies.”
The top sectors for Chinese expansion in London are ICT, the creative industries, financial services and business services.
China is also London’s largest international student market, and is projected to be the capital’s fastest-growing market for tourism in the coming eight years.
By 2025, it is predicted there will be a 103 per cent increase in the number of Chinese tourists into London with 330,000 annual visitors.