Investors based in either China or Hong Kong now control or are minority shareholders in nearly 200 British firms, according to an analysis of business data. Key pieces of infrastructure include Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, Heathrow Airport, Northumbrian Water, pub retailer Greene King and Superdrug.
Analysis by the Sunday Times revealed that investors based in Xi Jinping’s communist state own nearly £57bn of shares in the UK’s 100 biggest listed companies.
Top of the list was bank HSBC which is dominated by a 49 percent stake worth £45bn.
Chinese investors also held stakes of more than £1bn in pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, oil and gas firms Shell and BP and alcohol company Diageo.
The paper reported that other investments included at least 17 independent schools, Lotus Cars, Barnsley, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City football clubs, Cineworld and Odeon UCI cinemas, the QHotels group and the Skyscanner travel website.
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One wrote: “(The) UK should be stricter on China or (be) in trouble.”
Another said: “Begs the question if such extensive foreign direct investment (FDI) is truly in the interest of the nation?
“Or rather does it simply benefit the wealthy who in the final analysis have only their self interest at heart!”
And a third joked: “No incentive for anyone to invade (the) UK when everything is for sale?”
Concerns over China’s motives for investing so heavily in foreign countries’ infrastructure have existed for years.
The communist regime insists it has no ulterior motive and investments by its private firms are out of its control.
This is disputed by many, including Theresa May’s former chief advisor Nick Timothy.
He previously warned that China “could use their role to build weaknesses into computer systems which will allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will”.
Concerns about the role that Huawei would play in building the UK’s 5G network led to Boris Johnson’s government confirming last year that any parts supplied by the firm would be removed.
It appears this public rebuttal has done little stop other Chinese investment in the UK – stoking concerns about its influence on the country.