Chancellor George Osborne expressed his confidence in the slowing Chinese economy on 20 September, and called for more Chinese investment in the UK during a visit to Beijing. Despite disagreements over human rights and the former British colony of Hong Kong, China values Britain's staunch defence of free trade and lack of obstacles to investing in Britain. Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Britain next month.
"There is no economy in the west that is as open to Chinese investment as the United Kingdom. We welcome Chinese investment. There is huge amounts of Chinese investment coming into Britain at the moment. Indeed we are attracting more investment than Germany, France and Italy put together into the UK," Osborne told a group of tech entrepreneurs at a gathering in a start-up lab in central Beijing.
London has been especially keen to attract Chinese banks and encourage offshore trade in the yuan to bolster its position as the world's main centre for foreign exchange trading. A string of downbeat activity data combined with wild price swings in the stock markets and a surprise currency devaluation in August have fuelled fears that the Chinese economy may be slowing more sharply than was expected, putting Beijing's 2015 growth target of 7% at risk.
Osborne said he was "very deliberately" visiting the Shanghai stock exchange on 22 September and would be talking about what had happened on the financial markets over the summer. "Of course there have been ups and downs. We've seen that through the summer. In our estimation the spillover effects, the impact of that on other financial markets, has been relatively limited. And if you look at the broader picture in China, even if it's not growing at double digits the way that it once did, it is still creating an economy at least the size of the United Kingdom in the next five years."