“What are Chinese investors looking for?” This was a question raised at the most recent of a series of meetings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for East Asian focused on UK cities. We might have expected “high return on investment” or “world leading technology” or “incentive funding” or “attractive tax breaks” but none of those were singled out.
Chinese investors, we were told by the assembled experts, are comparing UK cities with competitors and assessing them on partnership potential, professional expertise and accessibility of key information. An investment book showing what opportunities and potential returns are available in an area is a great start, followed by a map of vertical integration and supply chains.
Do not underestimate the power of emotional connections. Much Chinese investment goes into the area in which their children are or were studying.
Chinese investors are looking for a longer term commitment, so want a sense of belonging. For that, it is important to know the story of your own place and to be able to align it with the investor’s. Heritage is precious to the Chinese, and how to manage it appropriately is a particular challenge they want to know you can empathise with.