LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Dalian Wanda, the property developer headed by China’s richest man, plans to invest up to 3 billion pounds ($5 billion) in regeneration projects in Britain, Britain’s prime minister said on Friday.
Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the investment after meeting Dalian Wanda’s chairman Wang Jianlin in Davos this week. It comes after Cameron led the largest-ever British mission to China last December that involved about 100 business people.
“When I met Chairman Wang Jianlin during my recent trade visit to China, I encouraged him to make further investment into Britain. So I‘m delighted that Wanda has decided to invest 2-3 billion pounds in regeneration projects so soon after my visit,” Cameron said.
“This will help to create jobs in Britain and it’s a great example of how we can benefit from foreign investment.”
Last year Cameron launched a government-backed body to help foreign investors identify and fund UK regeneration projects after securing international funds for the Battersea Power Station project and Chinese investment for London’s Nine Elms and Royal Albert Dock and Manchester City Airport.
He said 100 billion pounds worth of possible projects were on the table but on Friday he did not outline where Dalian Wanda’s investment would go.
Wang is China’s richest man with a net worth of $14 billion according to Forbes magazine. Dalian Wanda, a privately-held conglomerate that owns over $60 billion in hotels, commercial properties and department stores, has expanded rapidly outside China in recent years.
The company cut its first British deals in June last year when it said it would spend $1.6 billion to build an luxury London hotel and buy British yacht maker Sunseeker.
Dalian Wanda said it wanted to invest in “cultural tourism” projects but did not specify how many it planned to invest in, or whether it was currently looking at any opportunities.
In September, Wang unveiled a planned 50 billion yuan ($8.26 billion) “motion-picture” city in China’s coastal Qingdao city, comprising of an indoor amusement park, hotels and the world’s first underwater studio.
Foreign investors from Malaysia, Qatar and China have been the source of much-needed finance for austerity-weary Britain’s regeneration schemes in recent years, particularly in London, which they see as a safe and stable haven to park their cash.
Chinese state-owned developer Greenland Group purchased an disused brewery development plot earlier this month to concycle vert into homes while developer Advanced Business Park signed a deal last year to convert a derelict site near London’s City airport into offices. ($1 = 0.6013 British pounds) ($1 = 6.0517 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Brenda Goh, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)