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News Release


​Manchester’s 135 Year Football Rivalry to Put UK City on China’s National Stage

JLL sponsors the Pre-match Business Reception

​July 25, 2016, Beijing - Northern England’s largest city will grab the spotlight in China’s capital this week. Football fans gather for a chance to sample Manchester’s best known product in its premiere appearance outside the UK.

The City Derby – a storied football match between Manchester United and Manchester City that has been contested since 1881 – will be played on foreign soil for the first time when the two sides face off in Beijing’s National Stadium on July 25th.

The football contest between the two top-ranked English teams, which will be viewed by millions of fans worldwide, is being exported in part to draw attention to Manchester’s growing stature as an economic centre, and is expected to attract attendance from some of China’s biggest investors, as well as from tens of thousands of fans filling the stadium and millions more watching on television. 

While the performance of Man Utd’s star players against an up-and-coming Man City squad will be a top topic, the prospects for growth in Manchester’s property market will also be under the microscope at a business reception welcomed by UK Ambassador to China, Her Excellency Barbara Woodward, to be held before the match at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium.

The reception, which is organized by Marketing Manchester and supported by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Manchester Investment and Development Agency Service, will include a property focused breakout session sponsored and hosted by JLL, a leading facilitator of Chinese investment into UK real estate.

“Manchester is world famous for its football, but the city’s record of economic success has also caught the eye of investors globally, including some of China’s largest real estate companies,” said KK Fung, managing director of Greater China at JLL. The veteran property advisor added that, “At JLL, we are proud to be able to bring together top urban developers from the UK and China on the occasion of this historic sporting event.”

The session, “Regeneration and Sport: The Power of Football and Business” is expected to draw the attendance of top decision-makers from some of China’s biggest property firms, together with representatives of some of Manchester’s largest property projects, including St. Johns, Manchester Central and Victoria Station. The UK developers will be accompanied by JLL representatives from England, with local experts from JLL’s mainland China team also attending.

Buoyed by new infrastructure supported by the central government, Manchester has been attracting more mainland China investment, with Chinese president Xi Jinping touring projects in the city on a state visit to the UK last year.

Among those developments, state-owned Beijing Engineering Construction Group is investing in Manchester's Airport City, a new urban district, which with street signs in Chinese and English, is designed to become a hub for mainland China firms setting up in the city.

Also in the past year, Chinese investors Chongqing Jinstar Real Estate Development, Hualing Industry and Trade Group, and Shanghai-based PGC Capital have all agreed to real estate investments in the city.

With both Manchester United and Manchester City already followed globally by millions of faithful fans, the city that gave birth to these two top clubs has been pushing its way back onto the world stage thanks to the expansion of its financial services sector and a knowledge-based economy supported by a range of elite schools.

The resulting rise in values of Manchester homes has already made housing in the city a rival to pricier London among Chinese investors. Average home prices in Manchester are set to increase 5.5 percent in 2016, according to JLL data, with a 26.4 percent rise predicted by 2020. The real estate consultancy expects residential rental rates to grow around five percent annually over the same period, with a total increase of 26.3 percent by 2020. 

Known as “the cradle of the Industrial Revolution" for its early role in the development of England’s garment industry in the 19th century, Manchester is the UK’s second largest and fastest-growing economy after London. The city’s GDP has nearly doubled in the last 20 years, reaching approximately £28 billion in 2015, with its 6.6 percent growth rate over the period outstripping the national average of 5.1 percent.

Manchester now serves as home to the headquarters of more than 150 insurance companies and over 60 banks, including 40 international institutions. 

Also home to a growing media cluster and other service industries, the city is ranked among the top 15 cities in Europe for real estate investors and occupiers by JLL, with the consultancy predicting that Manchester’s economy will continue to outperform the country as a whole through 2020. 

This economic potential has persuaded real estate investors globally, as well as from China, to bet on the future of the northern powerhouse. During 2015 the value of total transactions in Manchester commercial real estate investment reached £15 billion – 25 percent of the UK’s national total.

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​About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $58.3 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information,

JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with over 33,000 employees operating in 92 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm won 15 awards at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific in 2016 and was named number one real estate advisor in Asia at the 2015 Euromoney Real Estate Awards.  

​In Greater China, the firm was named ‘Best Property Consultancy in China’ at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2016, and has more than 2,200 professionals and 14,000 on-site staff providing quality real estate advice and services in over 80 cities across the country.​​​​​​​​​​