Chinese investment in Spain is rapidly accelerating, according to Ignacio Legido, managing partner of BDO Abogados, with investors including investment funds, private equity firms and businesses in the manufacturing sector targeting the country’s real estate, tourism and consumer goods industries.
Data shows that Spain has experienced a dramatic increase in investment from China in recent years. The country is now the seventh biggest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe. Total Chinese investment in Spain stood at €1.7 billion in 2016, which represented a quadrupling of the previous year’s total.
As a result of the increased inflows of investment, law firms are experiencing a significant increase in demand for legal advice from Chinese clients looking to invest in Spain, particularly in the areas of finance and labour. However, Legido says there are still a number of obstacles to Chinese foreign investment in Spain. Such obstacles include bureaucracy, as well as the high level of regulations at different administrative levels, in addition to cultural differences.
Legido says that Chinese investors, like investors from anywhere in the world, have particular characteristics and demands, and this puts the onus on law firms to ensure they adapt to their different requirements and cultures of all types of client. “International clients bring a cultural component that makes a difference, irrespective of where they come from, but we are used to working with clients from different cultural backgrounds,” he adds.
Legido says that one of the key strategic objectives of BDO’s China desk is to strengthen commercial relationships between China and Spain – in this way it aims to win instructions related to both the globalisation of Chinese clients as well as the entry of Spanish clients into the Chinese market.