Salford Uni Riverside House

‘Top-class education’ can attract Chinese investors

Simon Donohue

Prime Minister David Cameron's emphasis on the UK's "top-class education system" has been hailed as the best way to attract Chinese property investment to the region.

Anthony Jackson, whose Portergate Property Management company is already attracting Chinese investment, says the Chinese are firm supporters of UK universities.

Jackson's own trade visit to China in October preceded the Government's official trip this week. He led a Portergate Property Management team to the Overseas Property Investment Show in Shanghai, a major international event attracting 130,000 visitors and featuring hundreds of specialist exhibitors from 30 nations across the globe.

He said: "The Chinese people I am doing business with in Beijing, in Shanghai and in Hong Kong all respect the BBC and know all about MediaCityUK in Salford. They love Manchester United and Manchester City.

"They want to send their children to our universities, not just because they are ranked among the best in the world, but also because of the unique cultural and social experience they know their young people will enjoy."

Visiting China this week, the Prime Minister said he would "improve the UK's visa arrangements with a new mobile visa service up and running in Beijing and Shanghai and a new 24-hour visa service on offer from next summer."

At education trade and investment fairs in China, Jackson was told that the highest standards of accommodation are necessary in the North West to help tempt wealthy Chinese students here, as well as making it easier to gain access to the UK.

Portergate has just opened Riverside House in Salford, a £13m purpose-built hotel-class hall of residence serving the University of Salford and the Manchester universities. Many of the residents are from China and other overseas countries.

A second, hotel-class £18m student village is being built in Preston to help meet a rising demand from overseas students.

Jackson added: "Our research in China and elsewhere is telling us that a superior standard of student accommodation is expected to go alongside the social and cultural attractions already in place and that is what Portergate is delivering.

"Like David Cameron, I know from first-hand experience you have to make the effort to visit China, meet the decision-makers and understand their requirements to do the deal.

"At Riverside House in Salford and in Preston we are a little bit ahead of the game in building what the Chinese and other nationalities want."

Riverside House, which is taking in new residents from the local student population all the time, is within walking distance of the University of Salford, an institution attracting more than 3,000 international students from more than 100 nations around the globe.

Work will start soon on Portergate's new Preston venture, which will be built in the university quarter of a city that welcomes more than 2,000 international students each year, representing more than 100 nationalities.

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