Mainland firms vie for London Olympics deals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 June, 2009, 12:00am

More than 100 mainland companies are looking to grab some of the potentially lucrative project contracts for the London 2012 Olympics through the Games' online brokerage service, British trade officials said.

'Mainland companies form one of the largest groups of overseas companies that have registered with CompeteFor, an online service which gives businesses access to Games-related opportunities,' said Tony Collingridge, the head of the Asia-Pacific team at UK Trade and Investment.

Britain's international business development and promotion group said about 20 per cent of the forecast GBP6 billion (HK$75.5 billion) worth of contracts under the London 2012 Olympics will be advertised on the CompeteFor site. The service can be accessed through the official Games Web portal.

The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and the Olympic Delivery Authority - the British agency responsible for developing the new venues and infrastructure for the Games and their use after 2012 - will allocate that GBP6 billion work as part of an estimated 75,000 future business opportunities, covering direct contractors and their supply chains over the coming years.

Mr Collingridge declined to identify the mainland firms signed up with CompeteFor as of May 26, but noted 'most are large companies representing very diverse industries, from software, information and communications technologies to construction, property development, retail and gifts ware'.

About 35 of those companies visited London in March to investigate the investment opportunities and meet potential British partners.

'One of the main purposes of CompeteFor is to encourage and enable partnerships to be formed to bid for Olympics-related and other businesses,' Mr Collingridge said.

The majority of the contracts will be let by private companies, which have already won their projects directly from the organising bodies or from other contractors. Most of these contracts will be up for grabs between the end of this year and 2011.

'We see British partners bringing local knowledge to the tender process to help Chinese companies adapt goods and services to the British market,' Mr Collingridge said.

The mainland was the eighth-largest source of foreign direct investment during a strong financial year to March in which Britain saw a record 1,744 new projects from 53 countries, up 11 per cent from the previous financial year.