Chinese Billionaire Plans To Rebuild London’s Crystal Palace

Or its reputation for rudeness. But the City of Light, one of the most visited cities in the world, has been knocked off its perch as best city in the world by London and Sydney in a new index released this week. According to the latest edition of the Anholt-GfK City Brands Index which measures a citys brand image, power and appeal, Londons stock has gone up in the world as it took the top spot in the biennial ranking. Possible reasons could include the fact that the city continues to bask in the afterglow of a successful Summer Olympic Games and has maintained a presence in the international spotlight with a string of historic milestones that include the Queens Coronation ceremony and the highly anticipated birth of a new royal with the arrival of Prince George. London also took the top spot as the city where individual cultures are appreciated and where foreigners can “easily fit in.” The Aussie capital of Sydney, meanwhile, enjoys a stellar reputation around the world for being the safest and friendliest city. The City Brands index measures the value of a citys international reputation across six dimensions: its international status and standing; esthetic; a category called pre-requisites such as affordable accommodations and the standard of public amenities; people; pulse (interesting things to do) and its economic and educational potential. More than 5,140 interviews were conducted in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, the US and the UK for the index. And while Paris was able to take the top spot in the category of Pulse, where the city failed to crack the top 10 ranking was in categories such as Friendly People and Safety. This summer, in a bid to shed their longstanding image of being rude and surly, the citys chamber of commerce published an etiquette manual for Parisian restaurateurs, taxi drivers and sales staff on how to welcome international tourists. …despite its indisputable charm, the capital has work to do when it comes to welcoming visitors, the chamber admits. And earlier this year, high-profile muggings of Chinese tourists robbed of their passports, plane tickets and cash shortly after landing in Paris tarnished the citys image, as did footage broadcast worldwide of soccer-related riots which broke out not far from the Eiffel Tower. Meanwhile, other notable movements on the index include Tokyo, which suffered a 7-spot drop from tenth place in 2011 to 17th place in 2013. Amsterdam, meanwhile, shot up the ranks from 17th spot to 11th position this year.

London’s Heathrow to face cap on charges by UK regulator

Credit: Reuters/Shadi Bushra By Shadi Bushra LONDON | Thu Oct 3, 2013 1:48pm EDT LONDON (Reuters) – A Chinese billionaire said on Thursday he planned to spend 500 million pounds ($810 million) rebuilding London’s Crystal Palace, a huge glass and steel building that captivated the world before it burned down almost eight decades ago. Ni Zhaoxing, chairman of the ZhongRong Group real estate investment firm, hopes to recreate the 19th century palace that was the world’s largest glass structure before it was destroyed in a fire in 1936 that could be seen across London. The original Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton to host the 1851 Great Exhibition, held when Britain sought to awe other nations with spoils from its empire and the wonders of industrialization. Originally located in Hyde Park, it was moved to south London in 1854, and Ni now wants to build a replica there to the original dimensions of about 500 meters (1,640 ft) long and 50 meters high. “This is going to recreate a 21st century version of the palace,” London Mayor Boris Johnson told reporters. “This isn’t an act of nostalgia. It is looking forward and it is about adorning our city with a world-class structure.” The 180-acre park, where the palace once stood and includes the original terraced steps, is currently home to an amphitheatre that once hosted reggae singer Bob Marley, a national sports centre and a collection of giant dinosaur sculptures, which also date from the 1850s. If the proposal goes through, it would be another example of China’s growing appetite for investments in Britain. A Chinese firm signed a deal this year to convert London’s Royal Albert Docks into the city’s third financial district. “London is renowned across the world for its history and culture,” said Ni, who says he was tied to Britain through his English-educated daughters and love of British art. “This project is a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring its spirit back to life by recreating the Crystal Palace and restoring the park to its former glory,” he said.

Is London Big Enough For A Second Startup Hub?

London’s Heathrow airport had submitted a plan to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) seeking to raise tariffs for airlines by 4.6 percent above inflation, as measured by the retail prices index (RPI), for the five years from April 2014. Instead the regulator proposed not allowing prices to rise by more than inflation. “Tackling the upward drift in Heathrow’s prices is essential to safeguard its globally competitive position,” CAA Chairman Deirdre Hutton said in a statement as the agency published its final proposals for consultation. Heathrow, whose owners include Spain’s Ferrovial and the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar, China and Singapore, slammed the CAA’s proposals, arguing that a price cap would limit its returns and make investment unattractive. “The CAA’s proposals risk not only Heathrow’s competitive position but the attractiveness of the UK as a centre for international investment,” the group said in a statement. Carriers using Heathrow, including British Airways parent IAG have in the past criticised the airport for its high fees. Heathrow warned, however, that the cap on its charges would create a less attractive environment for investment in Britain’s aviation facilities and mean less funding would be available for a new runway. London is facing an airport capacity crunch and needs to build a new runway to add flights to fast-growing economies and ensure it does not miss out on billions of pounds of trade. Under the CAA’s new proposals, Heathrow’s rate of return on capital investment would decline to 5.6 percent in the post-2014 period, from a level of 6.2 percent between 2008 and 2014, the company said. The CAA said it was satisfied with a plan by London’s second airport Gatwick, which has proposed to raise average prices by 0.5 percent above RPI for seven years. Gatwick Airport Ltd said in a statement that it cautiously welcomed the CAA’s proposals. The CAA said in September it would defer making a judgement on how to regulate London’s third airport, Stansted.

London Whale Lifts U.K. Regulator to Highest Fines in a Decade

But has being away from the East London tech action created other hassles for the fledgling company? Quite the opposite, claims Hill. A lot of clients, theyre struggling for meeting space in Central London. Theyre really happy to come to us. Weve got a huge space. Weve got a Muay Thai boxing gym in here, so we have two boxing rings in the office people find it quite quirky. If were going to meet clients, then the fact that we can show them an interesting space that isnt just four desks in a really expensive Shoreditch office gives us some more credibility, Hill says. And The Downsides If Hill and other West London startups have the classic advantages of the gentrification pioneer big, character filled spaces in which to create he also faces some of the same challenges. The biggest one? Imminent interest in the transforming neighborhood that will shift the real estate market once again. FIGs warehouse home is slated for demolition in the next few years to make way for an expansion of the shopping center that also serves as its landlord, so the incubator is already making plans for a move. Were already looking for where might the next big warehouse project is that we can take over and bring in even more exciting businesses, Hill says. That might be a hassle for the companies in FIG Village, but its good news for the city, Hill feels. I certainly think West London is changing.

London steals title of best city in the world from Paris

Regulator to Highest Fines in a Decade By Suzi Ring – 2013-10-04T15:11:31Z The U.K. finance regulator recorded its largest month of fines in more than a decade in September, buoyed by a 137.6 million-pound ($221.2 million) penalty against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) over the London Whale debacle. Industry fines totaled 169.5 million pounds last month and brought total penalties from the Financial Conduct Authority in 2013 to 339.5 million pounds, according to statistics published today by Wolters Kluwer NV (WKL) , Europe s largest tax and legal publisher. The year-to-date total is larger than any other full year since 2002. The regulator fined JPMorgan as part of a probe into losses exceeding $6.2 billion on a derivatives position built by a trader who came to be known as the London Whale because his bets were so large. The past year has also seen the regulator punish banks embroiled in the scandal over rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. The FCA is endeavoring to keep up with the international trend towards greater levels of fining and is continuing the trajectory started in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority in its latter years, said Barnabas Reynolds, a London lawyer at U.S. law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. The FSA became the FCA in April this year. FCA fines increased considerably last year hitting 313.4 million pounds at the end of 2012 compared with 66.1 million pounds in 2011. The FCA is clear that where there is poor behavior we will act quickly with punishments we believe reflect the seriousness of what has taken place, the FCA said in an emailed statement. To contact the reporter on this story: Suzi Ring in London at sring5@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net More News: