Chinese millionaires are moving to the UK - here's why

LLB Reporter

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The number of Chinese HNWs and UHNWs applying to come and live in the UK on Investor Visas jumped by 56 per cent last year to 122 from 78 in the previous twelve months, says the private office of LJ Partnership, the London-headquartered private wealth partnership.

Chinese HNWs and UHNWs now make up just under a third (32 per cent) of all Investor Visa applicants.

LJ Partnership, which supervises in excess of $14bn of assets on behalf of individuals, family offices, foundations and charities, says that Chinese HNWs (High Net Worths) and UHNWs (Ultra High Net Worths) are continuing to seek long-term investment opportunities in the UK despite short-term Brexit related uncertainties.

Chinese investors, common to investors from other growth or emerging markets, continue to regard the UK as one of the securest jurisdictions in which to hold assets. For HNWs and UHNWs a secure legal system with a proven record of protecting investors and a perceived price arbitrage due to a weaker pound have driven Chinese investment into the UK. Chinese investment into the UK reached $20.8bn in 2017, an increase from $9.2bn in 2016**.

UK commercial property a major draw for Chinese investors

Chinese investors from Hong Kong continue to be very active investors in UK commercial property targeting opportunities outside London as well as in the capital. 2017 was a record year for Chinese investment volumes into UK commercial real estate. There was an 11.6 per cent increase into the UK alone in 2017, including the £1bn-plus purchase of major London landmarks such as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ to Hong Kong’s Lee Kum Kee and the ‘Cheesegrater’ to China’s CC Land.

Sam Lawson Johnston, Director at LJ Partnership, says: “Chinese investors are looking past the short-term political instability of Brexit and see the current climate as a good buying opportunity. Many of those Chinese investors see the slight softening of prices in the UK as an opportunity for the longer term. The UK market is one of the most liquid European commercial real estate markets, with pro-landlord leasing terms for investors who are concerned with long term capital preservation.”

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