Around 4,000 City workers now have a Chinese landlord after the Lloyd's of London building was snapped up by the Chinese insurer Ping An for £260m today.
The "inside-out" building – designed by Richard Rogers and let to Lloyd's until 2031 – is the first major acquisition by a Chinese insurer in the UK, but the deal could trigger a flood of purchases as a wall of Chinese money heads for the London property market.
Humbert Pang, the Chinese head of Ping An's adviser, Gaw Capital Partners, said: "As an active player in the real estate market in China, Gaw Capital Partners is seeing more opportunities to assist Chinese institutional investors going overseas." The building was previously owned by Germany's Commerzbank, which paid £231m in 2005.
London is also in line for another skyscraper after the developer Brookfield struck a joint venture with the residential specialist Concord Pacific. The two will bring forward the 50-storey residential tower planned at Principal Place on the fringes of the City.