chinatown.jpgLondon ranks as the most European popular destination for Chinese companies — and not just because of its large Chinatown district.

The UK is already by far the largest recipient of Chinese foreign direct investments in Europe, according to Ernst & Young. A third of that goes to London which now has over 2,000 Chinese-owned businesses as well as a resident Chinese community.

Why London? Michael Charlton chief executive of Think London, an agency that promotes FDI, says:

London is recognised as China's gateway for entry to the European Union and is Europe's global financial and technology hub.”

Over the past four years, London has attracted four times as many Chinese FDI projects as cities like Paris or Hamburg, according to ThinkLondon. In 2004, the investment totaled £120m. In an effort to help more Chinese companies expand into London, Think London recently opened an office in Beijing.

As well as helping China's big multinationals like CNOOC, China Telecom, ZTE and Huawei, ThinkLondon has helped less well-known companies such as Mindray, a leading Chinese medical device designer — see this EngagingChina profile of Mindray.

Currently, ThinkLondon is assisting Hebei Jingniu Group, a glass maker, set up its European headquarters in London.

Now, if only UK companies could put out a similar release about how easy it is to invest in China …

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