A Chinese firm plans to provide investment to launch three housing projects in northern England, Britain's finance ministry said on Wednesday as finance minister George Osborne toured China to boost business ties.
Hualing Industry and Trade Group, based in China's Xinjiang region, intends to invest 60 million pounds ($92.2 million) to kick off the three projects in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield which will have a final gross value of 1.2 billion pounds.
The ministry said the projects, led by Britain's Scarborough Group, are expected to deliver 10,000 new homes, part of the government's efforts to spur development in northern England which has lagged growth in London and the Southeast.
Osborne said he was aiming to make China the second-biggest trading partner of Britain by 2025, compared with its number-six ranking now.
Earlier this week, Britain and China announced initiatives including an expanded currency swap agreement, Chinese investment in British nuclear power and a study for a scheme to connect the London and Shanghai stock markets.
Osborne also announced 10 million pounds in extra funding to enable thousands more British schoolchildren to learn Mandarin by 2020.