The City of London: Chinese investment 'a great opportunity'

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-31 10:09

LONDON - Chinese investment offers "a great opportunity" for both China and London as uncertainties remain over negotiations on Brexit, senior officials of the City of London said Tuesday.

"We welcome investment from around the world and certainly we welcome all the Chinese investors," said Gwyn Richards, the head of design and assistant director of Built Environment, told Xinhua.

In a signed article on the Evening Standard last week, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said the investment from his country to Britain is mutually beneficial and win-win for both sides, rebuffing the investment threat allegation.

Liu said that recent British media reports on the so-called threats of Chinese investment to British national security is a confusing mixture of paranoia and exaggerations about China's appetite to buy out Britain.

"That's certainly not the City's position," said Richards, "We welcome all the Chinese investors coming to us knocking on our door. Certainly we do not see it as a threat. We see it as a great opportunity for both the City and China." The City of London, a leading international financial and business services center, contributes 14 percent of London's GDP and over 3 percent of British GDP.

Sherry Madera, the City of London special advisor for Asia said China is an important marketplace considering how it is expanding internationally.

If London strives to be a global financial center in the context of Brexit, it needs to taking care of its investments seriously, Madera said.

"As evidence to that, Chinese financial investors are some of our key stake holders," said Madera.

The Asia advisor said cooperation with a diverse country like China could focus on a few "Tops" -- green finance, the internationalization of renminbi, and cooperation to create a legal system for contract possibly along the Belt and Road.

The British government from 2010 onwards has played an active role in promoting London's financial capabilities to China, one of which was in propelling the internationalization of the Chinese currency renminbi.

The advisor proposed a "2.0 next generation renminbi initiative" in an effort to find different ways in using renminbi internationally and using London as the hub as the renminbi continues to grow in the next 20 to 30 years.

Noting that London is the western end of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Madera sees the potential that London Stock Exchange could serve as a key vehicle for raising finance not only in China, but also across the Belt and Road.

"We need to grow our relationship with China, and foster really great link between the UK and China," she said.

Acknowledging that Brexit is "annoying, irritating and worrying," Medera said the City of London, along with most other stakeholders are calling for clarity for how the Brexit negotiation will be going forward.

Richards, on the other hand, seemed more optimistic. He said the City of London remains strong to the challenges of Brexit and the development schemes and discussions in the City are on full swing. Activity from Asia-Pacific investors, including China, was at its highest in five years in property investment in the City during the first half year of 2017.

"So certainly from my perspective, Brexit has not made any difference to us at the moment. If anything, we have never been busier," he said.


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