Chinese state-owned contractor CITIC has started construction work on a £1.7bn development at Royal Albert Dock in east London. CITIC being famous in the West for building the National Olympic Stadium in China, nicknamed by some as the birds nest.
The development is being billed as “London’s third great business area” alongside the City of London and Canary Wharf, those were the words of (then) Mayor of London Boris Johnson when the deal to develop the 14 hectare complex of offices and shops at the Royal Albert Dock, was signed.
It is believed that the project could generate up to 20,000 jobs for the area. The ground was broken by VIPs from China and the UK, using golden shovels.
Advanced Business Park have said they are keen to attract business from Chinese companies that are seeking to establish a London base. ABP signed an agreement last week which will see the Chinese province of Guangdong set up a major base at Royal Albert Dock to boost trade between the UK and China.
The development is led by China-based property group ABP, which aims to create an ‘Asian Business District’: a headquarters-to-be for Chinese and other Asian companies, enabling them to reach new markets across Europe.
The deal will make the project the biggest real estate development delivered in the UK by a Chinese construction company. This is the also first UK project by CITIC Construction, which has extensive experience in bidding for, designing, constructing and managing large scale engineering projects, both inside and outside China.
Chairman of ABP Global Holdings, Xu Weiping said: “As the Sino-UK relationship has entered the ‘golden era’, the bilateral exchanges have never been stronger, and this cooperation between ABP and CITIC is a perfect example of this ‘golden era’.
“The collaboration between our two companies means the resources and expertise of state-owned and private-owned companies will be shared, competitiveness will be increased, and it will strengthen the trade between UK and China and the exchange between enterprises from the two countries.
“The Royal Albert Dock project will build a bridge for Asia and Europe economic collaboration and the integration of east and west culture. ABP has a track record of developing large scale business districts in China. CITIC Construction has been planning to develop into the European market for the past 5 years, and the company has extensive successful experience across the globe. The company is market oriented with financial advantages.”
Greg Hands, the Minister of State for International Trade took to Twitter to express his pleasure at being invited to the event.
The Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming who was at the groundbreaking said: “The docklands in east London was first built in the 19th century. It has always been the lifeline of Britain’s business and trade. Over the past century, London docklands witnessed the prosperity of maritime trade, the rise of the City, and the boom of China-UK cooperation.
Ten years ago, ABP started to prepare for this dock development project. As we Chinese often say, “Ten years’ honing gets you a keen sword.” Today, this sword is put to test.
Four years ago, I had the honour to attend the signing ceremony of this project. Today, ABP, joining hands with CITIC Construction, is setting out to develop London’s third business district.
In the coming years, this area will be turned into an urban complex of offices, homes and retail commerce. The historic Royal Albert Dock will be brimming with a new life.”
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “It is great that we can be certain of ABP’s commitment to this development which will provide a vital boost to both Newham and the UK’s economy. Within just a few years we will all be reaping the benefits of this new business district which will bring life and energy back to the historic Royal Docks, and put them at the heart of the country’s economy once again.”
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