19 Feb

Happy Chinese New Year, year of the Ram

Happy Chinese New Year, year of the Ram

For the past few weeks Manchester has been decorated in beautiful red lanterns, brightening up the city and reminding us of the large Chinese community. There will be a host of celebrations happening this weekend throughout the city from banquets to kung fu masterclasses, it will be a cultural hive of activity and we are lucky to have this on our doorstep.

Also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name, this is the longest running festival in the Chinese calendar. As the Chinese calendar is lunisolar the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the Lunar New Year.

With the second largest China Town in the UK, third in Europe and now with the huge £800m investment in Airport City, the Manchester/China relationship is growing ever stronger. Last year we saw backing from a number of Manchester businesses for a China investment drive. Andrew Stokes Chief Executive of Marketing Manchester commented:-

“We know from the most recent international passenger survey that Manchester welcomed more than 19,000 visitors from China in 2013 – a substantial increase of 31% on the year before, which demonstrates the growing popularity of the city in this market”

With the exciting introduction of four-weekly direct flights to Manchester from Hong Kong, this is set to rise. It’s said that the China economy will be the world’s leading economy by the end of the decade, reaffirming the importance of keeping the ties strong. The ‘Manchester China Forum’ was set up by George Osborne back in 2012, enabling businesses to further develop and encourage relationships with China.

Working within the property market in Manchester, we are seeing how the improved connectivity with China is having a dramatic effect on the market. Over the past few years we have seen an increase in investors from China snapping up developments, often off plan. Due to it’s attractive yield, and draw of the city, Manchester is a fast becoming of the most desirable cities for the China market to invest. We have seen the likes of House of Fraser in Manchester, one of Britain’s oldest department store chains sold to a Chinese investment. Outside of Manchester and the property market we have also seen brands Weetabix, black cab maker Manganese Bronze and James Bond’s tailor Gieves & Hawkes, bought by Chinese investors, reaffirming the close ties we have with China.

Having recently been marketing Manchester residential schemes in China we have seen first hand the huge demand for luxury properties. A full marketing campaign was developed for both the UK and Chinese markets and there has been significant investment and purchases in the schemes we are marketing from overseas investors.

Throughout the city there has been a drive in bridging the gap between local residents and visitors from China. The Trafford Centre Intu, has begun a program to teach staff Mandarin, their center guide is also now available in Mandarin and key pages on the website have been translated. As part of the China boom, Marketing Manchester has also produced a Mandarin-language tax free shopping guide to the city.

It is safe to say the China/Manchester market is set to grow.

Enjoy the New Year and we’ll see you in China Town!