Chinese investors 'spend £134 BILLION on UK assets including infrastructure ...

Chinese investors have spent at least £134billion on UK assets, including private schools, infrastructure businesses and top ranked British firms, it has today been reported. 

Investors and businesses based China or Hong Kong now own stakes in key infrastructure businesses such as Thames Water, Heathrow Airport and UK Power Networks, according to the Sunday Times.

As much as £57billion is also invested in FTSE 100 companies, according to the paper.

And, as previously reported by the Mail on Sunday, Chinese firms have also invested heavily in prestigious private schools - including Thetford Grammar School and Bournemouth Collegiate College - to the tune of around £10billion.

The Chinese spending spree has boomed since 2019, according to the paper.

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Almost half of the purchases uncovered in its investigation with data provider Argus Vicker are said to have taken place in the last two years.

And at least £44billion of the purchases are by Chinese state-owned businesses, the paper reports.

It warns that, due to the difficulty in tracing some investments, the total investment figure could be far higher than the £134billion calculated.

Chinese investors - including state-owned businesses - have spent £134billion on UK assets, including private schools, infrastructure businesses and top ranked British firms, it has today been reported. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese investors - including state-owned businesses - have spent £134billion on UK assets, including private schools, infrastructure businesses and top ranked British firms, it has today been reported. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping

Investors and businesses based China or Hong Kong now own stakes in key infrastructure businesses such Heathrow Airport (pictured) and UK Power Networks, according to the Sunday Times

Investors and businesses based China or Hong Kong now own stakes in key infrastructure businesses such Heathrow Airport (pictured) and UK Power Networks, according to the Sunday Times

Chinese investors have also bought up stakes in Thames Water - another of the UK's key infrastructure firms

Chinese investors have also bought up stakes in Thames Water - another of the UK's key infrastructure firms

As much as £57billion is also invested in FTSE 100 companies, according to the Sunday Times

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As much as £57billion is also invested in FTSE 100 companies, according to the Sunday Times

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan smith said the research showed successive governments had been 'asleep on the watch'.

SCHOOLS OWNED BY CHINA-BACKED FIRMS 
Abbots Bromley School, Staffordshire Bournemouth Collegiate School St Michael's School in Llanelli, Carmarthanshire Bosworth Independent College in Northampton Bedstone College in Shropshire Ipswich High School Kingsley School in Bideford, Devon, Heathfield Knoll School Thetford Grammar School in Norfolk Wisbech Grammar in Cambridgeshire Riddlesworth Hall Preparatory School in Norfolk Adcote School for Girls near Shrewsbury, Shropshire  Myddelton College in Denbigh, Wales CATS Colleges - Campuses are in London, Cambridge and Canterbury Chase Grammar School Abbotsholme School, Derbyshire St Bees School, Cumbria 

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He told the Sunday Times: 'This evidence today shows how dangerously we are sailing towards Chinese control of key aspects of our business.'  

It comes as the Mail on Sunday earlier this year revealed how hundreds of independent schools left in dire financial straits by the coronavirus pandemic are being targeted by Chinese investors.

Experts anticipate a 'feeding frenzy' as firms, including some run by high-ranking members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, seek to expand their influence over Britain's education system.

Seventeen schools are already owned by Chinese companies, but that number is set to rocket.

Last year, Chinese firms bought three schools, including Abbots Bromley School near Lichfield, Staffordshire, which had been forced to close its doors in 2019. 

A key player in the market is Bright Scholar, which bought a number of schools and colleges in 2018 and 2019, including Bournemouth Collegiate School, St Michael's School in Llanelli, Carmarthanshire – where Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and singer Cerys Matthews were once pupils – and Bosworth Independent College in Northampton.

Bright Scholar is owned by Yang Huiyan, who is reportedly worth £20 billion, making her Asia's richest woman, and was founded by her father Yang Guoqiang, a

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