An article in The Guardian of 22 August 2017 reports that China's largest commercial property company, Dalian Wanda has pulled out of a £470m purchase of Nine Elms Square.
The Chinese government has issued new rules which prohibit investments in core military technology, investment vehicles which might endanger China's national security and investments in the gambling and sex industries. Outbound investment in property, hotels, entertainment, sports clubs and film studios will also be restricted although there are no details as to the nature of these curbs. The Chinese government has been worried about downward pressure on the yuan as the outward flow of finance for investments has increased and there have been Chinese government concerns about the level of risk Chinese investment companies were being exposed to through some investments. The Chinese government may have been concerned about some of these companies folding at some point.
The Guardian article reports that Dalian Wanda has been one of the companies which has been the most affected by the Chinese government's rules. In fact the Nine Elms square site has been sold to two other Chinese developers in an offshore transaction which did not require the approval of the Chinese regulators.
The new Chinese regulatory clampdown could hit UK commercial property prices which have previously been fuelled by Chinese investor demand. The expectation is that there will be a reduction in outbound investment by Chinese companies in the UK property market but that there will continue to be experienced, carefully judged investments from this source.
Beijing issued rules last Friday to limit overseas investment in property, hotels, entertainment, sports clubs and the film industry, and threatened to blacklist firms that violated those rules. This could put an end to Chinese firms’ recent spending spree in the UK. Chinese investors have spent a record £4bn on commercial property in the City of London and the West End so far this year, according to data from real estate firm CBRE. The “Walkie Talkie” tower in the City was sold to Hong Kong food conglomerate Lee Kum Kee for a record-breaking £1.3bn last month.