Travelers get their first impression of a city from its airport. And as more Chinese tourists visit Europe, many are disappointed with the outdated transport facilities they encounter in the developed economies.
Now, Chinese investors are helping to give these facilities a facelift.
Beijing Construction Engineering Group Co said it will invest 12 million pounds ($19.4 million) to redevelop the United Kingdom's Manchester Airport. The project also involves the joint construction of a business district at the airport, in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.
The project, called Airport City, involves about 61 hectares, which will be turned into a complex featuring about 465,000 square meters of offices, shops and green space. It's also expected to create 16,000 jobs for local residents.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that his government will ensure that investment from China flows to all parts of the UK, since the nation's economic plan is about securing a recovery for all regions.
Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson recently made a five-day visit to China, in a move to promote bilateral ties.
"Europe's GDP has been weakened by the slump in fixed-asset investment in the region," said John Ross, the former director of Economic and Business Policy (London).
In the short term, Ross said, it will be hard to see an obvious rebound in Europe, given the weak capital inflows.
But money from China may offer some hope. Managing $3.66 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange is reportedly seeking to diversify its investments. It's giving strong emphasis to opportunities in the real estate sector in the UK, French, German, Polish and Czech markets.
SAFE also is reportedly involved in the Beaugrenelle shopping center in Paris, in a deal that could involve at least 700 million euros ($966 million).