On 24 June 2016, the British public voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. With the UK being China’s second most popular destination for Chinese investment in Europe, President Xi Jinping had made it clear that China would favour a vote to remain. Notwithstanding the outcome of the vote, this article explores some of the key advantages that have encouraged Chinese investors to continue investing in the UK following the shock outcome of Brexit.

2016年6月24日,英国民众公投决定脱离欧盟。随着英国成为中国在欧洲投资的第二大热门目的地,习近平主席曾明确表示,中国支持投票留欧。虽然投票结果是脱欧,但在获悉脱欧这一令人震惊的结果之后,本文来探讨一些鼓励中国投资者继续投资英国的关键优势之处。

I. Weakening of Sterling

镑疲软

In the initial period post-Brexit, Sterling fell 15% in value to a 30 year low against the dollar and 12% against the yuan renminbi. This resulted in a significant increase in foreign investment activity in certain sectors as investment in the UK market became more affordable.

英国脱欧后的最初阶段,英镑兑美元下跌15%,为30年来最低,兑人民币下跌12%。这导致若干行业的外国投资活动急剧上升,因为投资英国市场变得更实惠了。

These sectors include:

这些行业包括:

(a) Luxury Brands

奢侈品品牌

China has always heavily invested in UK luxury brands. Last year, British luxury brands won the most Chinese luxury consumer awards. For example, Dunhill and Net-a-Porter won the “Accessory for Men Star Performer” and “Online Luxury Retailer Best New Arrival” awards, respectively.

中国一直大量投资英国的奢侈品品牌。去年,英国奢侈品品牌赢得最多中国奢侈品消费者奖项。例如,登喜路(Dunhill)和颇特女士(Net-a-Porter)分别赢得了“男明星演员配饰奖”和“在线奢侈品零售商新秀奖”。

Therefore, it is understandable that high net worth individuals such as Jack Ma Yun, founder of Alibaba, have chosen the UK as the location to establish their European headquarters. Their hope is that by establishing themselves in the UK, they will help European brands understand the type and quality of goods Chinese consumers demand and also that they will be better placed to make investments in luxury brand owners in the UK and the rest of Europe due to European business owners becoming increasingly receptive to Chinese investment.

因此,可以理解许多高净值人士,例如阿里巴巴创始人马云,均选择英国作为设立其欧洲总部的地点。他们希望通过在英国设立欧洲总部,将会帮助欧洲品牌了解中国消费者需要的商品类型和质量,同时由于欧洲企业主越来越能接受中国投资,这也更有利于其投资英国和欧洲其余国家的奢侈品品牌所有者。

(b) Real Estate

房地产

Homelink, one of China’s biggest real estate agencies, explained that the number of enquiries received by their Chinese clients has surged by almost 50% since Brexit. The British real estate market appeals to Chinese investors for a number of reasons including the transparent judicial and tax system, the top educational institutions (note that the UK has long been the main destination for Chinese students in the EU with over 50% of Chinese students studying in the EU being enrolled in UK institutions) and the high cultural diversity. Some of the most notable real estate projects that have taken place in the UK over recent years have been backed by Chinese investors. By way of example, One Nine Elms, a pair of luxury residential towers with their own five star hotel, are currently being built in London and were funded by Dalian Wanda, China’s largest developer.

来自中国最大房地产中介之一链家的消息,自从英国脱欧以来,其收到中国客户的询盘数量激增近50%。英国房地产市场吸引中国投资者的原因有很多,包括透明的司法和税收制度,顶级教育机构(注:英国一直是中国学生在欧洲的主要目的地,超过50%在欧洲学习的中国学生入读英国学校)以及高度的文化多样性。近年来在英国进行的一些最著名的房地产项目,得到中国投资者支持。举例来说,One Nine Elms,拥有自身五星级酒店的两幢豪华住宅楼,正由大连万达(中国最大的开发商)出资在伦敦兴建。

(c) Technology

技术

Foreign investors are keen to understand (and own) the technology behind the UK’s most successful businesses. Once they purchase the technology, they own the intellectual property rights and are then able to replicate and develop it for use within their own markets. As an example of the appetite for British technology, a UK based designer of microprocessors was recently acquired by a foreign investor for $32 billion.

外国投资者热衷于了解(并持有)英国最成功企业背后的技术。一旦他们购买了技术,他们即拥有了知识产权,随后能在其自身的市场进行复制并开发。青睐英国技术的例子有,一家英国微处理器设计公司最近被外国投资者以320亿美元收购。

Earlier this year, Chinese technology and investment group Cocoon Networks announced that it will be launching a $720 million London-based venture capital fund in the next three to five years aimed at investing in UK and European tech start-ups. Concerns were voiced that it could trigger authorisation requirements under the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. However, Chinese investors are hopeful that this will now be avoided post-Brexit as the UK will no longer be subject to what some regard as overly restrictive EU regulation imposed on it by Brussels.

今年早些时候,中国技术和投资集团科控全球(Cocoon Networks)宣布,其将在未来三至五年内针对英国和欧洲科技初创公司的投资,启动7.2亿美元伦敦风险投资基金。外界有声音表示,这将引发欧盟《另类投资基金管理人指令》项下的授权要求。但是,现在脱欧后由于英国无需再遵守布鲁塞尔强制其遵守的被认为有些过于严格的欧盟法规,此项要求可以回避。对此中国投资者充满希望。

(d) Sports and Entertainment

体育娱乐

Over the past year, Chinese investors have quietly started heavily investing in European football clubs in what is becoming known as “Chinese football.” Earlier this month, The Sino-Europe Investment Management Changxing group acquired AC Milan for approximately $815 million, wiping out the club’s debts and enabling it to compete with the elite clubs on the player transfer market. Three rival English football clubs were also sold to Chinese investors. Aston Villa was sold to Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia for $98 million; Wolverhampton Wanderers was sold to Chinese conglomerate Fosun International for $58 million, and Yunyi Guokai Sports Development have confirmed a deal to purchase West Bromwich Albion for a reported $58 million.

过去一年,中国投资者已悄悄开始大力投资欧洲的足球俱乐部,现在被称为“中国足球”。本月早些时候,中欧体育投资管理长兴有限公司,以近8.15亿美元收购了AC米兰,清偿了俱乐部债务并使俱乐部能够在球员转会市场的精英俱乐部比赛。三家竞争的英国足球俱乐部也被卖给了中国投资者。阿斯顿维拉队以9800万美元卖给了中国商人夏建统博士;伍尔弗汉普顿流浪者队以5800万美元卖给了中国企业集团复星国际,云毅国凯体育发展有限公司证实以据称5800万美元收购西布朗维奇队。

Chinese investors understand the commercial benefits in investing in well-known European football clubs. Many have claimed that they are investing to “change the behaviour of viewers” towards pay-per-view sports in Asia. They also believe that, by investing heavily in foreign players for their own Chinese teams, their team’s chances of success will increase, thereby generating more income revenue from sponsorship deals and an increase in the domestic fan base.

中国投资者了解投资知名欧洲足球俱乐部所带来的商业利益。许多人声称,他们的投资是为了将亚洲“观众的体育消费习惯改变”至按次计费。他们还认为,通过大力为其自己的中国队伍投资外国球员,其队伍成功的机会将提高,从而使投资交易产生更多收入并增加国内球迷群体。

Chinese investors have also continued to invest in the Western entertainment industry. US cinema chain AMC Theatres, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, the world’s biggest Chinese operator, recently purchased Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group from private equity group Terra Firma for $1.2 billion. Adam Aron, AMC’s chief executive and president explained in a public statement that whilst there were general uncertainties created by Brexit, highly favourable currency exchange rates had encouraged AMC to make the purchase.

中国投资者也继续投资西方娱乐产业。由全球最大中国运营商、中国大连万达集团公司持有的美国院线AMC影院,近来以12亿美元从私募集团泰丰资本手中收购了Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group。Adam Aron,AMC首席执行官及总裁在公开声明中解释道,虽然英国脱欧产生了一般不确定性,但是非常有利的汇率促使AMC作出此项收购。

II. The Labour Market

劳务市场

Many British industries currently rely heavily on a migrant workforce and the current principle of free movement of labour across the EU has provided a deep pool of employees for such businesses. If immigration controls are imposed post Brexit, this pool will shrink and, in a market where labour is less readily available and therefore potentially more expensive, UK businesses may well look to China for cheaper resources and labour. On the flip side, this hasn’t deterred many Chinese companies from their UK expansion plans. For example, Huawei, a Chinese and global leading telecommunications equipment and ICT solutions provider, has promised the UK government that its £1.3 billion investment to incorporate UK suppliers into its network of clients will still go ahead.

许多英国行业目前严重依赖移民劳动力,并且目前欧盟范围内劳务自由流动的原则为该类企业提供了大量员工。如果脱欧后实施移民控制,该劳动力市场将萎缩,并且将形成不容易获得劳动力从而劳动力可能更贵的劳务市场,英国企业可能更看中中国更实惠的资源和劳动力。另一方面,这并没有阻止许多中国企业的英国扩张计划。例如,华为,一家中国及全球领先的通讯设备和信息通信技术解决方案供应商,向英国政府承诺,仍将继续进行其13亿英镑将英国供应商纳入其客户网络的投资。

III. Deregulation and cutting away of red tape

放松监管并减除繁文缛节

There is a strong possibility that a deregulation across a number of sectors will occur following Brexit negotiations. In particular, the UK will cease to be subject to the wide range of regulatory requirements currently imposed on it as a member of the EU. Post Brexit, the UK will be free to introduce its own regulations, subject to international treaties. This could be extremely attractive to Chinese investors as the UK is likely to provide a more accommodating environment for overseas investors as it repositions itself in the global market.

英国脱欧谈判后很有可能将放松多个行业的监管。尤其是,英国将停止遵守目前作为欧盟成员强制遵守的一系列监管要求。脱欧后,英国将根据国际条约,自由采用其自己的规则。这可能对中国投资者极具吸引力,因为英国可能因其在全球市场的重新定位,为海外投资者提供更包容的投资环境。

British assets and companies have always been and will continue to be both desirable and sound investments for foreign investors. The weakening of Sterling has made it easier for foreign investors who want to diversify from their domestic markets to invest in a country that they believe will bounce back and regain its standing as one of the world’s leading economies.

英国的资产和公司一直以来并且将持续成为外国投资者理想及稳健的投资。英镑的疲软,对于那些想从国内市场转为多元化投资的外国投资者来说,反而能够更容易在其认为会反弹并重新赢得全球领先经济体地位的国家进行投资。