Over the past couple of years we have recognised a significant increase in the number of entrepreneurs, investors and start up companies moving from East Asian countries such as China and Japan to the UK. Equally, we are seeing a rise in the volume of work permit applications required for UK nationals who are being sent to the Far East on assignment.
In recognition of these increased links with countries in Eastern Asia and in order to encourage their growth, the UK Government has introduced a range of initiatives which include enhanced UK visa services in China. Organisations such as London & Partners, with whom we have been liaising closely, are doing great work in strengthening business relations and encouraging the reciprocal flow of tourism between the UK countries in Eastern Asia.
With this in mind, we were very interested to read this week of the deal which has been agreed between the London Mayor, Chinese commercial developer Advanced Business Park (ABP) and its UK partner Stanhope and assisted by UK Trade and Investment, for the creation of a new ‘Asian business port’ at the Royal Albert Docks in Newnham, London.
‘A beacon for eastern investors looking west’
In a ceremony at City Hall on the 29th May 2013, The London Mayor Boris Johnson and representatives of Advanced Business Park, including the Chairman Mr Xu Weiping, announced details of the £1bn deal to develop a 35 acre business park at the Royal Albert Dock, near London City airport.
ABP want to transform the currently disused site into a 24 hour state-of-the-art business district and although the site has not yet received planning permission, they are currently in talks with at least 20 firms whom they hope will become tenants when first stage of the project completes in 2017. Development is due to complete in full in 2023.
The Mayor stated that the park would become ‘London’s third great business area’ after the City of London and Canary Wharf and ‘will act as a beacon for eastern investors looking west,’ generating 20,000 new jobs. It is clear that the site is intended to attract Asian companies planning to create a European base and its location close to City airport and the Crossrail line should facilitate easy access to other European countries. However, Johnson indicated his belief that the site would not be exclusively occupied by Asian companies, stating ‘it will be like London, it will be a melting pot.’
Of course, at this stage there is no guarantee of the success of such a large scale project, but we will observe with interest as the plans are brought into fruition and this exciting new venture becomes a reality. We hope that the new venture will forge even stronger cultural and economical links between the UK and East Asia.
What is your opinion of the new project? Do you welcome the new plans or are you sceptical? Leave your comments below…