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Conference focuses on China-UK investment

By Mu Chen in Beijing and Zhang Chunyan in London | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-22 07:19


Companies from the United Kingdom will showcase more than 40 investment opportunities in a variety of sectors to Chinese investors at the China Outbound Conference 2014 in Beijing on Wednesday.

The conference, organized by the China-Britain Business Council, will focus on investments in such sectors as infrastructure and property, advanced technology and retail. It will also push forward investment partnerships between British and Chinese companies globally.

Stephen Phillips, executive director of the China-Britain Business Council, said: "What is really exciting and healthy is that now it is genuinely a really balanced commercial relationship. There are UK companies exporting and investing here and Chinese companies exporting and investing in the UK, which is much more sustainable.

"We see great potential for growth for Chinese investment in the UK, and also see really big opportunities for Chinese and British companies to work together globally," Phillips said.

Zhou Xiaoming, minister counselor of the Chinese embassy in London, said that cumulative investment by Chinese companies in the UK has reached nearly $40 billion. That is twice as much as UK investment in China, making the UK the largest recipient of Chinese investment in the EU.

More significant than the total value of Chinese investment is the speed at which it has risen.

"The first seven months of this year saw a surge of Chinese investment. Chinese companies carried out nine major mergers and acquisitions. With a total investment of more than $5 billion, they have invested more than they did in the whole of 2013," Zhou said.

Chinese investment in the UK has included property, infrastructure, high-end manufacturing, media and research and development.

Both countries are looking to increase cooperation and extend it to more sectors amid growing Chinese investor clout and bilateral political momentum.

In 2013, China's outbound direct investment reached a record high of $108 billion. ODI reached $74.96 billion for the first nine months of this year, up 21.6 percent year-on-year, and the upward trend is set to continue. The Ministry of Commerce estimates China's ODI will exceed inbound investment in 2015.

During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the UK in June, among the $14 billion of trade deals signed was an agreement that Chinese companies would take part in nuclear energy and high-speed rail projects in the UK.

The new avenues of collaboration were emphasized by British Prime Minister David Cameron during Chinese Vice-premier Ma Kai's visit in September.

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