raised over Chinese-backed project in London’s Docklands One of London
mayor Boris Johnson’s biggest foreign investment projects has been
called into question after the Chinese companies involved said they were
in a dispute over how to split the scheme.
The ￡1bn Asian Business Port project at the Royal Albert Docks in east
London is the latest in a series of Chinese-backed projects to have
stalled, despite prominent efforts on the part of British politicians to
attract Chinese cash. 位于东伦敦皇家阿尔伯特码头(Royal Albert
News of the delay comes just days before the visit to Britain of China’s
President Xi Jinping, hailed by the Chinese foreign ministry as kicking
off a “golden era” of Sino-British relations and by the British side as
an opportunity to promote Chinese investment in Britain.
The scheme is supposed to be one of Mr Johnson’s biggest legacies as
mayor of London, a post he is due to vacate next spring. Another project
to which he lent his support, a plan to develop a replica Crystal Palace
in south London, fell by the wayside after the local council pulled out
of negotiations with aspiring developer Zhongrong Group.
China Minsheng Investment, one of the country’s largest investment
funds, said on Tuesday that it had not reached an agreement on an equity
split for the Asian Business Port project with Xu Weiping, founder of
developer ABP. Minsheng said in February that it had taken over the
project and planned to invest ￡1bn. 周二，中国最大的投资基金之一中国民生投资(China Minsheng
“It is unfortunate that a formal contract has not been reached,”
Minsheng Investment said in a statement sent to the Financial Times,
adding that “ideal conditions regarding the equity ratio” had not been
The Greater London Authority still owns the site and has named ABP as
its preferred developer. But if ABP fails to close a funding deal in the
coming months, the GLA could decide to offer the project to another
company. 大伦敦政府(Greater London
The Docklands project is the third large Chinese investment proposal in
British property to come into question, after the Crystal Palace idea
fell through and Peel Group shelved plans for a ￡175m “International
Trade Center” near Liverpool.
The site was supposed to serve as a base for 1,000 Chinese companies
interested in exhibiting and selling goods into Europe. In late 2013,
the Financial Times reported that Stella Shiu, the Chinese businesswomen
being introduced as the wealthy investor in Peel Group’s plans, had very
few traceable business assets in China.
Neil Robinson, London-based spokesman for the Docklands project, said on
Wednesday that ABP remained the lead developer and had secured a ￡40m
investment commitment from property company Strawberry Star earlier this
The project involves the conversion of the docks, east of the very
successful Canary Wharf development, into a mixture of offices and homes
in partnership with the British property developer Stanhope.
A person familiar with the situation said the site was “difficult to
build on, and that makes it hard to attract investors”.
In its statement, Minsheng said: “We believe that the project has great
prospect for development. Both sides still hope to strive to explore and
finally arrive at a satisfactory innovative model, so that Chinese
private enterprises can go out and play our small part in contributing
to Sino-British economic co-operation.”
Mr Robinson said the negotiations with Minsheng were continuing. “I can
say with 100 per cent confidence that Minsheng is not pulling
out?.?.?.?We are in active discussions with them. We are also about to
announce an exciting new deal that is really a game changer for China-UK
ABP has developed a business and residential project in southwestern
Beijing along with three other office park projects in other Chinese