Sam Crispin

Chinese investors are still flocking into the Royal Albert Docks in London, says property consultant Sam Crispin in the South China Morning Post. Doomsday scenario’s with rigid capital control from Beijing and the Brexit is not stopping those investments.

The South China Morning Post:

Firms from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India have acquired or reserved 60 per cent of total office space, or 33,388 square metres, in the first phase of the Royal Albert Dock project, Sam Crispin, chief executive officer of ABP’s Hong Kong sales unit told the South China Morning Post.

Costing £1.7 billion (US$2.2 billion), the revival of the 137-year-old dock in East London, seen as the city’s third financial and business district, aims to attract Chinese and other Asian firms looking to expand into Europe. ABP, founded in 2003, is a privately held Chinese developer of economic zones, including the Royal Albert Docks project.

Beijing’s crackdown on capital outflows and debt-fuelled overseas acquisitions by aggressive conglomerates has not deterred companies interested in moving into Royal Albert Dock, said Crispin, who led PwC’s urbanisation team and real estate business advisory services before joining ABP this year.

“The concern is where Chinese banks have been lending to fund overseas acquisition, whether that’s a risky thing to do or not, and how future acquisitions will be funded in what’s perceived to be a less risky way,” he said.

The latest State Council directive issued on Friday restricting Chinese overseas investments in property, hotels and sports clubs is likely to have limited impact on the project, Crispin said on Monday, as ABP primarily targets “companies that already have operations in Hong Kong and other Asian countries” and hopes “to attract owner occupiers.”

Unlike landmark buyers such as sauce maker Lee Kum Kee, which bought London’s “Walkie Talkie” tower in July, potential and existing Chinese buyers of ABP’s project are mostly smaller firms, financed in a less risky way and making “smaller investments that are below the radar” of Beijing, Crispin said.

More at the South China Morning Post. 

Sam Crispin is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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