Manchester, the UK’s fastest growing economy outside of London, offers a wealth of opportunities for Chinese investors on a variety of levels, proving once again that a city can most certainly re-invent itself.
Manchester, in recent years, has been a city on the rise. The birthplace of the industrial revolution turned centre for digital innovation has invested heavily in its future. And it’s paying off, especially in the form of special attention from Asian investors.
Commitment to China
Over recent years, significant investments have been made from China into Manchester. To date, 39 Chinese companies are operating across Manchester, all being a strong incentive to create the Manchester China Forum. This forum was launched by the UK finance minister in April 2013 to further relationships between China and the UK.
The Manchester China Forum aims to achieve a series of goals, including:
- Support the growth of Manchester’s exports to China
- Increase in-bound investment into Manchester from Chinese companies
- Grow inward tourism from Chinese visitors
- Increase Chinese student numbers and retention in Greater Manchester’s universities
- Secure direct air routes between Manchester and China
Manchester is home to the second biggest Chinatown in the UK and the third largest in Europe. In recognition of the big Chinese community living in Manchester, the Consulate General for the People’s Republic of China was established in Manchester in the 1980s, providing a range of services and support for Chinese national in the UK.
The Northern Powerhouse
Manchester is the secret capital of the Northern Powerhouse, an impressive strategy to boost the productivity of England’s North and build a counterpart to London’s overpriced economy. And the Chancellor’s plan to build a force that can counteract that of London is starting to work, with 65% of FTSE 100 companies already having a base in Manchester.
The figures are on a constant rise, the North – and especially Manchester – are becoming more and more popular with institutional and private investors alike. With investment increasing drastically in the region, its cities will grow even more, leading once again to more investment.
Rise in Stamp Duty
The new rules, announced by George Osborne in the most recent Budget 2016, have come into effect earlier this month. From April 1, an extra 3% surcharge will be added on top of the Stamp Duty Land Tax for anyone buying a second home in the UK.
For any savvy investor, buying the right property quickly becomes a numbers game and with prices in the North being generally a lot lower than down South, Manchester turns out to be even more attractive. Adding the recent stamp duty developments on top of the already existing upwards trend, the North’s USP is easy to name: it’s lucrative yields.
London of the North
Manchester, now even more so than it already was, is becoming a multicultural city. The city is already massively celebrating big Chinese holidays, such as Chinese New Year, as well as being home to more than 30,000 Chinese students.
Now however, Chinese investors are not only buying Manchester, these days they are building it as well.
The Beijing Engineering Construction Group is investing £800m in Manchester Airport City, including a hub for other Chinese firms to set up. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the site, which will use street names in Mandarin and English, last year in person.
It is milestone moments like the president visiting Manchester that give the 300,000 middle-class Chinese, who have got money to spend, the confidence to invest in Manchester.
They might never hop on a plane to explore what’s on offer in person, but they will definitely come to love the benefits they will get from investing in this amazing city of growth.