Chinese investment into UK businesses is on a course to continued growth, figures suggest. 2016 was the biggest year for Chinese-based investment since 2012, with $12.38billion in total being poured into UK-based ventures. Europe as a whole saw $46 billion come in as overall growth has remained at 90% year-on-year, according to Baker McKenzie. The top 30 Chinese countries in the UK reached an average growth percentage of 174%, a report by Grant Thornton indicates.
UK Sectors covered by Chinese investment vary from the property market – the highest grossing sector for these investments in 2015; weighing in at $2.13billion – to technology: The highest grossing sector of 2016, sitting at $4.17billion (As figures from American Enterprise Institute’s Global Investment Tracker suggest).
Another big target for these investors is the consumer goods sector. The Guardian stated in an article – written in 2016 – that many household names had received large investments from Chinese companies. These investments include Weetabix, who sold 60% of the company to Bright Foods for £720million in May 2012, House of Fraser, who sold 89% of the company to Nanjing Cenbest for £480million in September 2014, and Hamleys, whose company was bought out entirely by C.banner International for the sum of £100million in October 2015. Another big name, from the hospitality sector - restaurant chain Pizza Express, was bought for £900million by Chinese company Hony Capital.
The boost that the UK’s technology sector received in 2016 as a result of Chinese investment was tangible. Most notably in London, where the biggest investments were largely based. An example of one of these investments can be found in Cocoon Networks’ £500million capital fund, provided specifically to support tech start-ups in the UK and across Europe, as London and Partners reported.
2017 once again looks set to be a big year for Chinese investment in the Tech sector. An article, featured in the Financial Times in January, notes the investment of $30million dollars into Aerospace technology company Gilo Industries by Kuang-Chi Group of China – who were also responsible for the technology behind a high altitude helium balloon intended to take tourists to near-space.
It seems that – in spite of the looming spectre of Brexit - Chinese investment into UK companies will continue to flourish; suggesting clear skies for the UK-China business relationship.
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