The UK government is drawing up plans to restrict state-backed companies from overseas countries such as China investing in Brit firms.
The UK has aggressively courted inward investment throughout the last decade but attitudes appear to be hardening towards the Middle Kingdom and there are reports of cooling relations between London and Beijing. The shift follows numerous controversies, which recently include China’s alleged cover-up of the early stages of the coronavirus epidemic, and its introduction of tough new security measures in Hong Kong.
The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Conservative MPs are urging prime minister Boris Johnson to accelerate new legislation that will make it harder for these types of investments to occur. The move follows a reversal in policy towards comms giant Huawei, which had been granted a partial role in the roll out of the UK’s 5G mobile network, but will now be phased out over the next three years due to national security concerns.
Odeon Cinemas, the major Euro exhibitor which is headquartered in the UK, is one significant film company housed on Brit shores that is controlled by China, via Wanda Group’s controlling interest in beleaguered U.S. chain AMC (which owns Odeon).
There is an official treaty for UK-China film co-production in place, though it has been utilized sparingly by film producers to date. One successful example can be pointed to with the Jackie Chan movie The Foreigner, which qualified as a local production for China and saw success in the country, grossing $81M. The British Film Institute has organized numerous events over the years to try and grow ties between the two country’s industries. At present, it’s not clear if the planned government crackdown could harm the prospects of further co-producing between the nations.