An agreement, worth one billion pounds (1.51 billion U.S. dollars), to transform a dockland in eastern London into a business port for attracting Chinese and Asian companies to develop in Europe was signed in London on Wednesday.
ABP Chinese (Holding), a private company founded in 2003, plans to build the Asian business port, the first of such in Europe, and a new financial center in the 130-year-old Royal Albert Dock area in Newham in eastern London, claiming to be the largest commercial real estate development project involving Chinese investment in Britain and in the history of China-Britain cooperation.
"I am very pleased and very proud that my company ABP has reached this agreement for the Royal Albert Dock with the Greater London Authority. This project will be hugely significant for both the Chinese and British economies," said Xu Weiping, Chairman of the ABP.
"My vision is to develop a world class international business district which will initially target Asian businesses to help them secure a destination in London, which in China is seen as the gateway to both the United Kingdom and the wider European economy."
"The Asian business port is expected to help promote employment and promote local economic growth by attracting Chinese companies and Asian business as well," said Xu.
The investment project is estimated to create 20,000 jobs and its development to contribute about 6 billion pounds to the British economy upon completion, said the London city government in a statement.
In an interview with Xinhua, Xu said that he is confident to turn the deserted port area into an economic prosperous one in a period of 10 years, and expressed the hope to make the area an example of full integration of culture and economy between the East and the West.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Creating a third financial district in the capital, this development will act as a beacon for eastern investors looking west, bringing with it tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment for the UK economy."
Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming and British Communities secretary Eric Pickles were present at the signing ceremony.
Liu said the project has made two records, namely the biggest comprehensive real estate project that a Chinese company has ever undertaken in Britain and the biggest Chinese investment so far in Britain this year.
According to the ambassador, Chinese investments in Britain amounted to 8 billion U.S. dollars last year.
Speaking of the 1 billion pounds investment in the project, Xu said 30 percent will be from ABP, 30-40 percent from bank loans and PE and the remaining part from pre-sales and sale of the property.
The project is designed to be carried out in five phases and completed in about 8-10 years. (1 pound = 1.51 U.S. dollars)