Manchester investment portfolio launches in Beijing

Updated: 2014-10-22 01:54

By Cecily Liu(chinadaily)

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Britain’s former industrial hub Manchester is trying to forge ever closer ties with China, and on Wednesday a delegation of Manchester business representatives launched an investment portfolio of the city-region’s opportunities in Beijing.

The portfolio, which is available in Chinese and English, showcase a range of Manchester opportunities that Chinese entrepreneurs and investors can participate in.

Many of these opportunities are in the infrastructure sector, where development plans are already made but the projects are open for investment. One example is Ocean Gateway, a strategic corridor stretching 40 miles from Manchester along the Ship Canal to Liverpool, and another is NOMA, a ten year regeneration project to create a new neighbourhood.

Manchester Airport City and Enterprise Zone are also large development projects in the city creating opportunities for foreign businesses to invest and settle in the city. And so is MediaCityUK, the largest purpose-built creative and digital hub in the UK, which still open to new occupants.

The launch of the portfolio took place in Beijing at the business association China-Britain Business Council’s annual outbound conference, which brings together Chinese and British businesses to identify practical opportunities in all sectors.

In recent years, business and trade exchanges between China and Manchester have been fast growing. Chinese migrants have long made a home for themselves in Manchester, and in more recent years Manchester’s universities are attracting a growing number of Chinese students.

As well, Manchester’s universities are also lending their research expertise to help China solve practical problems. For example, the University of Manchester is building a 61 million pound National Graphene Institute, which has already attracted a 5 million pound collaborative research partnership from Bluestone Global Tech, a major Chinese grapheme manufacturer.

Last year saw the establishment of the business network Manchester China Forum, which facilitates business, cultural and political exchanges between the two locations to a new height.

One recent high profile project of Chinese investment in Manchester has been the Chinese construction company Beijing Construction Engineering Group into the 800 million pound Airport City Manchester project.

BCEG will share 50 percent workload of the project's construction, alongside the British construction company Carillion. BCEG will also help to market the project in China, with a goal of attracting more Chinese companies to settle their European headquarters in Airport City Manchester.

Rhys Whalley, executive director of the Manchester China Forum, said that Chinese investors frequently request examples of specific opportunities in the UK so his team decided to identify these specific opportunities in Manchester with the Chinese audience in mind.

“It should go some way towards helping to whet the appetite and facilitating those important initial conversations,” Whalley said.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, who is also the China Forum Chair, added that in December a new Manchester Hong Kong direct flight will be added, and Manchester Airport will become the only airport outside of London with a direct route to China.

Cornish also said Manchester’s connectivity makes it a great investment destination, especially for the real estate sector.

“Manchester has a rich property offering for international investors and occupiers alike. Couple this with an international airport, with over 200 destinations and incredible connectivity, then the city is well placed to meet global real estate demand,” Cornish said.