The announcement that Chinese companies can take a stake in British nuclear plants was hardly a surprise: George Osborne had already told reporters that the UK welcomed Chinese investment in all its infrastructure – citing the sovereign wealth fund CIC’s existing investment in Thames Water and Heathrow.
China has massively increased investment in Europe in recent years. One study this spring, by private equity firm A Capital, found that Chinese state-owned companies invested more than $12.6bn (£7.8bn) in the continent last year: a year-on-year increase of about 20%. Cash-strapped European countries have proved relatively welcoming.
Involvement in critical infrastructure – and particularly the nuclear sector – is a more delicate issue. Jonathan Fenby, director of the China team at research service Trusted Sources, said: “The question is whether people in Britain will say, ‘Our electricity is being sold to the Chinese and if something happens and we say something we shouldn’t, they will turn off the lights.’ I think that’s pretty unlikely, but nuclear brings a level of sensitivity.”
But on the Chinese side, the same concerns – diversifying holdings, gaining technical knowledge and turning a profit – apply. The UK is expected to guarantee a generous price for nuclear-generated electricityto ensure more plants are built.
“All these deals have a commercial logic to them. In this case they will get, they hope, some technological expertise which is what they have wanted for their domestic nuclear programme. Then, if it is a successful investment, that helps them vis-a-vis joint ventures elsewhere in the world or selling on their technology,” said Fenby
Read the full article here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/17/china-investment-uk-osborne-nuclear
Source: The Guardian