Peel Holdings is seeking a Chinese investment partner to jointly fund the 60-storey Shanghai Tower planned for Liverpool's Princes Dock.
The powerful property and transport group controlled by billionaire John Whittaker has recruited a broker in Shanghai, the booming Chinese city that is twinned with Liverpool due to their shared merchant trading history.
The £300m project would be funded on a 50:50 basis between Peel and the Chinese partner. Peel hopes the Shanghai investor could help channel Chinese inward investment towards the 1m sq ft tower, set to contain a five-star hotel, offices and residential.
Liverpool this year sent a delegation to Shanghai to sign a memorandum of understanding to share research and advice on various social and business policy areas.
Whittaker and his development director Lindsey Ashworth were on the trip and returned with a pledge to create the Shanghai Tower at Princes Dock aimed at Chinese occupiers.
Rival architects Broadway Malyan, Benoy, Chapman Taylor and AFL are competing to design the tower, which is being hailed as the tallest skyscraper in the UK outside of London.
The four are due to present to Peel's board before the end of the year.
Peel owns hundreds of acres of dockland along with the port operations in Liverpool, Birkenhead and the Manchester Ship Canal along the River Mersey.
The company is planning £10bn of development over the next 50 years in the Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters programmes, subject to an inevitably long planning process.