Chinese manufacturer pulls out of £1bn Sheffield deal

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Sichuan Guodong, Sheffield city council,

Sheffield City Council has revealed that its £1bn investment deal with Chinese manufacturing firm, Sichuan Guodong, will no longer take place

Sheffield City Council has written to the chairman of Sichuan Guodong to inform them that the door to future business in the city remains open – despite the lack of progress on his proposals.

Sheffield announced the 60-year agreement with the Sichuan Guodong in 2016.

The council has said it will work with Guodong and its chairman Wang Chunming to identify other private-sector opportunities in the city if desired, but developments at West Bar and for a 5-star hotel in the Central Library building, first put forward three years ago, will not be taken forward and there are no future plans or projects likely to be considered.

However, the council says it is very confident of strengthening its ties with China and taking forward other plans with other partners.

During the last three years, Sichuan Guodong has undertaken feasibility studies, at its own expense, on a number of council-suggested schemes.

Unfortunately, the schemes reviewed to-date have not met the investor’s viability requirements for investment.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “I would like to thank Sichuan Guodong for its strong enthusiasm and affection for Sheffield, strengthened by their own family ties here.

“I remain hopeful that Sheffield and Guodong can work together in the future. There are a large number of private sector schemes in Sheffield that Sichuan Guodong may wish to collaborate on and we will be happy to inform and advise them if any interest arises.

“We are now in a much stronger place in our relationship with China and understand better how Sheffield can work with Chinese investors on a range of business opportunities.

“I would like to sincerely thank Mr Wang and his team for the interest they have shown in the city. We have so many ties with China and these can only strengthen and lead to jobs and economic good fortune here in Sheffield.”

Sichuan Guodong has also been caught by increased restrictions made by the Chinese Central Government policy which has resulted in stricter investment criteria being applied to Chinese private companies wanting to invest in real estate projects outside mainland China.

Both parties acknowledge that significant amounts of pre-development work has been undertaken and that although this has not delivered the results that had been hoped for, Guodong remains open to working on future projects in Sheffield if the right investment opportunities can be found.

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