Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has arrived in the UK for the UK-China Strategic Summit, an annual meeting between the two nations which is aimed at building bilateral relations.
The last one took place in Beijing in November last year.
On Sunday, he will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Wen Jiabao will also visit the MG car plant at Longbridge. The plant, which used to make MG Rover cars, is now owned by China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
With China having overtaken Japan as the world’s second largest economy, many European companies are looking for investment, while Chinese acquisitions in Europe have also been increasing.
Many luxury goods companies have also been focusing on breaking into China, as the country now has a large, growing middle class with money to spend.
Meanwhile the Chinese are being drawn in greater numbers to Europe and the UK.
Last month, authorities in Beijing granted licences to three foreign companies to organize tours for outbound Chinese tourists, including TUI which became the first European tour operator.
The move is seen as key to opening up the country’s lucrative outbound market.
The license, which was awarded by the China National Tourism Authority, will allow TUI to tap into the fast-growing market for Chinese tourists into Europe.
Previously, foreign tour operators were allowed to operate inbound and domestic travel, but were barred from outbound business.
But the outbound business is expected to be the most lucrative part of the Chinese tourism market, because it is experiencing the fastest growth and generating the most profits in China compared to domestic and inbound travels.
The UNWTO estimates the Chinese to have quadrupled spending on international tourism since 2000, making them the third-largest spenders on international tourism in the world.
The next step for TUI would be to decide on what products to offer Chinese tourists.
European tour operators are looking to fast-growing BRIC countries for expansion and have recently focused on bringing Russian tourists to Europe’s beach resorts.
According to the China Tourism Academy, mainland tourists made more than 57 million trips to foreign countries as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and spent $48 billion last year.
It is estimated mainland tourists will make 65 million outbound trips and spend $55 billion overseas this year.