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Alliance aims to be a bridge to investing in Europe

By Cecily Liu, Zhang Haizhou and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

08:24, June 28, 2012

An alliance of private-sector companies will establish offices in Europe to aid and advise other Chinese companies investing in the continent.

The Aigo Entrepreneurs Alliance will see its members move into London and Brussels in the coming months.

One office will be set up in Greenwich, southeast London. The office in Brussels will be based between two business hubs — Tour & Taxis and the European Market City.

Feng Jun, president of Aigo Digital Technology, who founded the alliance in June 2011, said private companies should help each other expand overseas.

The alliance has about 100 members, with many more set to join, including companies that have already set up an overseas presence.

Chinese companies are increasingly investing overseas. More than 13,000 domestic enterprises had invested in 178 countries and regions by the end of 2010, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Outbound direct investment for 2011-15 is expected to register double-digit annual growth to $560 billion, matching the nation's foreign direct investment, the ministry said earlier this year.

"The high growth trend is irreversible," said Jessie Tang, partner at law firm Jones Day in Beijing.

The firm specializes in mergers and acquisitions.

Chinese companies expanding overseas, apart from seeking trade opportunities, will also create jobs and help fend off protectionist measures, she said.

More than selling cost-competitive products, Feng has a brand vision for the alliance.

"Creating brands is different from just doing business because it requires absolute honesty. Our alliance will supervise the members and ensure quality products," Feng said.

He also feels that overseas subsidiaries of Chinese businesses must create value for local communities. Consequently, Feng encourages the alliance's members to expand through joint ventures with foreign companies, rather than acquisitions.

Feng's vision and sincerity have already won enthusiastic support among community leaders.

Trevor Dorling, of Greenwich Council, said that working with Feng has allowed his team to come into contact with Chinese companies.

"Our ambition is to become a home for successful Chinese businesses, and over time they will create jobs for residents and provide business opportunities for local companies," he said.

The office in Greenwich will be set up at Greenwich Peninsula, a 77-hectare office and residential development currently under development.

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