A delegation from the Greater London Authority and Newham Council along with the Mayor of London’s business promotion agency London and Partners visited ABP Beijing as part of a fact-finding mission to explore ways of strengthening business links.
A range of suggestions on how to build better links for East London and increase investment were discussed during the round table business forum on the theme of “The Power of Partnership - Doing Business Together”. The forum was jointly organised by ABP Global, ABP International Alliance and London-Beijing International Trade Service Centre at ABP Beijing.
Newham’s Deputy Mayor, Ken Clark, shared the latest figures with the Chinese representatives to demonstrate that the age profile of Newham’s 330,000 population is becoming even younger and more diverse and it is estimated that the population will increase to 400,000 by 2030 with 40% from the younger generation and 85% from an international background. He pointed out that 260,000 square meters of residential space is planned to transform East London into a bigger and better destination where more people develop and succeed.
He said: “London is undergoing a crisis and is facing radical changes but I understand that the scale of change we are facing is relatively smaller compared to the enormous change in China. I’ve learnt a lot during this trip and we will improve the efficiency of our business regulation and endeavour to create a brilliant investment environment for business. We are proud that our friendship with China and ABP has been healthy and I look forward to welcoming you to visit Newham in the future.”
Chairman of ABP Global Xu Weiping said: “To echo the theme of the forum, ABP wouldn’t have gone so far without the power of partners. We appreciate the support we’ve been given from professionals of different sectors, home and abroad, which enabled us to win the tendering process of the development right of Royal Albert Dock among dozens of strong bidders and it is the largest brownfield project in the UK from Chinese investment.”
Against the backdrop of President Xi’s historic state visit to the UK and the launch of UK-China’s ‘Golden Era’, ABP is supported by a good number of businesses and government organisations including CITIC Group, CITIC Construction and Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce, Mr Xu said, “Therefore we can strengthen our ability in the journey of ‘Going Global’ and a lot more enterprises can make that journey to the UK too with our support.”
He also said: “We are well prepared for the brand new opportunities ahead between China and UK, Beijing and London, Fengtai and Newham. I believe Chinese enterprises will become truly outstanding by continuous working hard, innovating and learning from the experiences of Western partners.”
During the forum, latest figures presented by Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce show that, as of October 2017, Beijing’s direct investment in the UK has surpassed 18,000,000USD (13,431,000GBP) and Britain has accumulated a total investment of 600 million U.S. dollars in Beijing with 664 enterprises established, accounting for 1.6% of Beijing’s foreign enterprises.
From January to October 2017, bilateral trade between Beijing and the UK was 4.44 billion USD, increased 25% over the same period of 2016 with imports from the UK standing at 3.84 billion USD, an increase of 31.3% over the same period in 2016. Major imports were crude oil, vehicles and equipment.
Deputy Director from Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce, Lisheng Wang said, “ABP is one of the major enterprises investing abroad from Beijing and I’m deeply grateful for the contribution made by ABP to Beijing’s foreign trade and economic development. Together with ABP, we will create a platform and broaden the areas for cooperation and bring a ‘win-win’ future for enterprises to do business with each other.”
Executive Director Housing and Land for Greater London Authority David Lunts, recalled the first impression of Mr Xu 5 years ago. “A lot of people approached me and introduced their concept to me, but most of them were disappointing. The only exception is Mr Xu and his vision about ABP.”
In his view, ABP’s development project in London is not only developing the land but also maintaining and creating regeneration and raising the profile of the area which in turn attracts enterprises from China and the UK, Asia and other regions to become allied with each other. It is even more important after the Brexit.
Having seen ABP’s successful business park in China, David Lunts said he is further confident that ABP will return Royal Albert Dock to former glories by bringing in more Chinese investment and make East London a string destination for new investment from a number of areas.
Forum members were also given a presentation on the Royal Docks by Dan Bridge, the GLA’s Director for the Mayor of London’s new task force set up to promote the area.
Informal discussions took place over dinner between business and local government leaders including Head of Regeneration for Newham Robin Cooper, Principal Adviser for Development and Regeneration for London and Partner Katie Kopec, CITIC Construction Deputy General Manager Bo Piao, Deputy Director of Trade and Development Department at Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce Nuo Sun, Deputy Director of Zhongguancun Technology Park Fengtai Management Committee Jianxiang Yang and Priscilla He from Formula 1.