L-R: Ruisan Li of the Agricultural Bank of China, Max Steinberg, Gary Millar, Ning Lin of the China
Richard Bell

Chinese business leaders look to invest in Liverpool

Senior figures from the finance and banking sectors in China have visited Liverpool with a view to identifying potential investment opportunities.

Over the course of a two-day trip to the city, a 13-strong delegation that included the chief representative of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and the chief executive of the Agricultural Bank of China (UK) Ltd held private meetings with Liverpool businesses from a range of sectors.

Organised jointly by Invest Liverpool, the Liverpool China Partnership and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the visit follows a 10-day trade mission carried out last month by Vice Mayor Gary Millar and Ellen Cutler, the director of Invest Liverpool.

Discussing the Chinese officials’ visit to the city, Ms Cutler said the event reflected a ‘significant’ rise in interest in the area from China-based investors. Speaking further, she said it showed how the city’s long-term strategy of strengthening relations with China was beginning to deliver results.

She said: “The city has worked very hard to connect and engage with China on a trading, cultural and government level and we are starting to see that work pay dividends.

“There have been a number of investments in the city in the last year by Chinese concerns and we have noticed a sharp upturn in interest.”

Ms Cutler continued: “It’s telling that this isn’t just about property but also about investment in businesses which are based in the city and which have high growth prospects. Our specialisms in tech, life sciences, energy and environment and manufacturing all offer attractive investment propositions.”

While they were in Liverpool, members of the Chinese investment delegation met companies from the manufacturing, life sciences and technology sectors. Interest was also shown for Liverpool’s low carbon, education and property sectors, in addition to general corporate finance and opportunities in mergers and acquisitions.

Individuals representing the China CITIC Bank, the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Fushi Investment Management Ltd were among the group.

Cllr. Gary Millar, who is the city council’s cabinet member for Business, Enterprise and Investment, commented: “It’s hugely encouraging that the city region is attracting attention from such prominent Chinese financial institutions. It tells us that our long-term engagement with China is working and that we have in place the right assets, infrastructure and opportunities to attract interest.

“We strongly believe that much of the city region’s economic growth must be driven by global connectivity so that our businesses are not only exporting services and goods but also attracting investment from international markets.”

He added: “It’s this international dynamic which drove Liverpool’s rise to pre-eminence in the 19th century and which will play a key role in driving our 21st Century renaissance as well.”

A further indication of China’s growing interest in the city can be seen in the upcoming International Festival for Business. So far, over 20 Chinese delegations have been confirmed as attending the June event, but that number is likely to increase in the coming weeks.

The director general of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Ning Lin, praised Liverpool as “a world-class city for business”, adding: “It is rich for investment opportunities, business benefits and an outstanding quality of life. Liverpool is also well-known for its profound history and culture.

“Being one of the centres of Northern Powerhouse, Liverpool definitely has an inspiring and promising future.”

He continued: “The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade is committed to advancing foreign trade, two-way investment and economic and technological cooperation.

“We would like to serve as a bridge and platform to facilitate communication and cooperation between UK and Chinese business.”

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