Saturday, December 21, 2013

United Chingdom?

The flag of the landed gentry in the UK

The biggest property tycoons in the UK are... Chinese. As reported in this SCMP article, the two wealthiest property moguls are no longer members of England’s aristocracy. The Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, who held the title for the past ten years (informally “His Most Wealthy Grace”), has tumbled to fourth place in this year’s ranking by Estates Gazette Rich List, behind Wang Jianlin (Dalian Wanda group), Henry Cheng (New World Development group) and a Mumbai-born businessman.  Joseph Lau, a Hong Kong-based tycoon who has been found guilty of bribing a senor Macau official in the widespread Ao Man-long scandal, holds the number seven position.
Not surprisingly, London’s toniest neighborhoods, landmark buildings and new land holdings are increasingly flowing into the hands of foreigners. And without fail, Asian investors have been taking full advantage of the city’s lenient property ownership rules. The three Chinese investors mentioned above alone combine for 38% of the total fortunes of the top 10 on the Gazette’s list. The British elite naturally still own most of the property in the UK. Therefore, the sovereignty of the island kingdom is not about to change. However, the symbolic flag flying over more and more of its most valuable properties these days are much redder than the Union Jack.   

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