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China’s Richest Man Recommends Investment in Britain

Wang Jianlin, who heads Dalian Wanda, China’s biggest property corporation, said that Britain has one of the most open markets in the world and does not scrutinise investments to the same extent that other countries do.

Mr Wang, who is worth an estimated $24.2 billion US Dollars and is presently China’s richest man, said that he was thinking about buying an English or Italian football club and investing £667 million in the country’s entertainment industry. He has considered many countries for investment, and admires the UK market the most.

He added that the US is also appealing, but the country’s Committee on Foreign Investment closely examines all investment from overseas and can block it.

Mr Wang’s recent investments have drawn a lot of attention. He bought the US cinema chain AMC and InFront, the Swiss company that owns the TV rights for the Fifa World Cup. Yet another high profile aquisition has been Sunseeker, a British yacht builder that supplies boats for the James Bond films.
He said that for the past year, he has been discussing a certain investment in London. It never came to pass, but he still intends to invest $1 billion in the UK. Mr Wang has been approached by a number of English football clubs, but price remains a factor in a decision to buy. He has already purchased a 20% interest in La Liga club Atletico Madrid.

 

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Mr Wang pointed out that because state-owned firms predominate in China, the market is mostly closed to both private Chinese and foreign firms. It is a situation that requires reform, and he felt it would happen over time.

He also expected land privatisation to be undertaken in China, describing it as the only way to handle the growing debt problems that plague local governments.
Mr Wang said that these governments owe an estimated 20 trillion yuan (£2.1 trillion) and do not produce enough revenue to make a serious dent in their debts. In his opinion, the only solution is to allow land to be sold privately.

When asked if he really thought that the Chinese central government would embrace such a radical move, given the fact that the country’s land is basically state-owned, he said that he believed it would come to pass.

If it does, it would be an important step in the overall opening up of the Chinese market and would definitely benefit property developers who at present can only obtain leaseholds and jointly develop building projects on sites that local governments own.

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