UK ahead of America in race for Chinese insurer investment
14th July, 2014
China's largest life insurance company has paid out £795million to acquire an office tower in London's Canary Wharf. The deal highlights an international competition to attract Chinese capital and the recent purchase has put Britain in the lead, well ahead of its North American competitors
State-led China-Life Insurance has secured a 70 per cent stake in the one million square foot tower under the purchase conditions, while the majority of the remainder will be occupied by an investment firm belonging to the Qatari government. Songbird Estates, which owns the building and announced the transaction, will retain a ten per cent interest.
The Canary Wharf purchase is the largest Chinese investment this year and far exceeds what has been spent in the US in 2014, where $304million was paid for an office tower in Chicago. These foreign investments will top-up the UK's existing life insurance capital, allowing for continued industry expansion. This will mean more choice for consumers and greater access to these options by way of expert advice and websites which compare life insurance quotes.
According to a study in 2013, China's life insurance industry has more than one trillion US dollars in capital, and real estate abroad remains an important investment target. Despite the recovering US market, the UK seem to be the frontrunners when it comes to winning favours with China; as well as the Chinese insurance investors, China's property developers have also been making high-value purchases in Britain.