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A lot to bring to the table

By Cecily Liu and Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-22 09:00

As European construction experts leave their mark on cities, they are teaching the country valuable lessons

China's rapidly expanding cities are generating immense opportunities for Europe's masters of planning, architecture and engineering, and attracting the interest of investors and academics.

With a home market in which new construction projects are thin on the ground, what particularly attracts European companies to China are the opportunities due to the speed, scale, and room for creativity in construction.

A lot to bring to the table

Simon Blore, global managing director of Benoy

"Working in China certainly encourages a more pragmatic approach, and as architects we need to be responsive, flexible and intuitive," said Simon Blore, global managing director of the British architectural firm Benoy.

Founded in 1947 in the English county of Nottinghamshire specializing in farm buildings, Benoy has come a long way to win flagship projects in China such as the Elements shopping mall in Hong Kong and Raffles City in Shenzhen.

Benoy employs 500 people in six countries, 320 of whom are based in China. Crucial to Benoy's success in the country is the very short time-frame for projects, Blore said.

"A 200,000-square meter leisure development in China takes on average about three years from the initial design stage to opening. In the United Kingdom, the same size project could be anything from seven to 15 years."

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