UK's Northern Powerhouse tries to lure China investment

On a typically drizzly day in the northern city earlier this week, hundreds of British businesses people including local government from Blackpool region convened for the second annual UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition.

In addition a Chinese delegation of banking and other business heads descended on a major economic and infrastructure conference in Manchester that hopes to attract Chinese money to development projects in the Blackpool region and the north of England.

Jin Xu, minister consul of the economic and commercial office of the Chinese embassy in London, led the group to Manchester . He was with representatives from a number of Chinese banks, including the China Development Bank, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Because of this promising investment environment, there are Chinese delegation groups of banking and national governmental heads from London and potential investors from Tianjin, China to attend the Northern Powerhouse International Conference and Exhibition.

UK Northern Powerhouse Policy hasn’t been well-known in China for most of the Chinese businesses, also the Northern Powerhouse geographic area.

The leader of the groups, Minister Ambassador Mr Xu Jin interviewed by China Daily mentioned that: "Chinese investors are looking into infrastructure, healthcare, innovation, education, tourism, and, of course, real estate-prices are much lower in the north than in the London area."

Last November, Chancellor Philip Hammond offered Chinese investors a portfolio of 13 projects in the north worth £5bn (source: China Daily 23 Feb) Also last November, China signed a £800 million gas power station MOU with local government and another £800m was invested into the expansion project at Manchester airport back in 2013.

May Liu, the international projects director of the China-UK Business Centre (North-West) was also interviewed by China Daily, said “there is a noticeable increase in Chinese interest at this year's conference. The northern region was previously not that well-known in China. That's changing. Today, we were approached by several businesses who visited our company display stands and asked about investment opportunities."

Barrie Thompson, the marketing director of the China-UK Business Centre (North-West) who has been committed in China-UK Business for more than 16 years attended the two-day event. He indicated that “We need to attract more Chinese investors to experience the beauty of Northern England.

"We are promoting Blackpool in China, the most beautiful seashore in the north and the golden opportunities waiting for them to discover. Blackpool is famous for the tourism, marine technology and manufacture industry. The tax relief policy for the Blackpool Enterprise Zone is a good window for Chinese people or anyone in UK would like to start their new business. Blackpool is not only a wonderful place for you to enjoy your day in the summer but also a great place to start your entrepreneurial business dream.” The Conference and exhibition ended up with a closing finale of celebrations. Their ultimate reaction was , everybody is looking forward to the Northern Powerhouse Conference & Exhibition in 2018.

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