Leaders from 22 of the North East’s key companies and business organisations have taken part in a roundtable debate to discuss Chinese investment in the region.

Over the last decade the UK has been a top tier recipient of Chinese investment in Europe, and globally. Last year the government announced £30 billion of deals where Chinese capital would be investing in the UK.

The aims of the roundtables are to further understand Chinese interest in and its relationship with the North of England, and to explore the key challenges and opportunities to better promote this region to potential foreign investors.

Phil Dyer, Atkins’ director for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “The north-east is full of attractive opportunities for Chinese investors. China is already investing here and we want to help build on that enthusiasm. The conversations we are having through these workshops mean we can now help developers prepare the best and most attractive opportunities to our investor community in China.”

The discussion, organised and hosted by Atkins and Invest Newcastle, with support from Invest North East England, saw attendees identify and debate a wide range of issues, including:

  • What opportunities does devolution offer and what does Brexit mean for the area?
  • The need to create a growth narrative that sets out what the North East is trying to achieve in terms of outcomes, and a portfolio of investments that allow these outcomes to be delivered
  • The need to promote the North East’s vision on a world stage and to do this in a joined up way with private and public sector, making the region visible and attractive to a global audience.

Catherine Walker, inward investment director at Invest Newcastle, a service delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of Newcastle to attract and secure new investment and jobs for the city, said: “Newcastle is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign investors. Now is the time to identify a strategic approach, allowing us to secure international private sector investment to launch and accelerate key projects. The roundtable was a fantastic first step in bringing together key businesses and stakeholders in Newcastle, and the wider North East, to deliver a unified message and strong proposition of investment opportunities.

“We’re working to continue this momentum through our attendance at MIPIM 2017 where we will be joined by at least 20 private sector businesses – showcasing to the global property and investor market the opportunities Newcastle has to offer.”

Bill Huang, Director, Chinese investor relations, Atkins, said: “Our discussion in the North East was another fantastic opportunity to gather valuable feedback and intelligence which I will be able to take to influential clients in China. The North East is already well known for Japanese investment, with Nissan being the area’s largest private employer. We need to build on this success and broaden the appeal to other global investors to achieve future infrastructure goals.”

The North East is the second in a series of debates, which are also planned to take place in Tees Valley, Manchester and Cumbria.