Issues such as Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims had already strained relations between the two nations and tensions were escalated by the UK government’s decision to ban Huawei from the rollout of 5G in the UK.

The situation has been further complicated by the mixed messages the government has sent out over TikTok. Last month, parent company ByteDance reportedly halted talks with the UK government to move TikTok’s global HQ to London amid heightened tensions between the countries.

New York and California were tipped as its favourite options, but with Trump now threatening to ban TikTok, the group is understood to be reconsidering an HQ move outside the US – with London once again back on the table. A Property Week poll found that respondents were split on whether the move was likely to happen, with 45% saying it was likely or very likely, and 44% saying it was unlikely to happen.

Experts said that Chinese investors no longer knew what the rules of engagement were in the UK. “It’s a diplomatic tightrope, both for the governments and corporates wanting to be based here,” said Shaun Dawson, head of insights at DeVono Cresa. “You don’t want to commit to something if the rules and regulations start to change and you’re wasting thousands of pounds on an office in a country that doesn’t necessarily welcome you.”

The chairman of ABP, the Chinese developer behind the £1.7bn Royal Albert Dock scheme in east London, said he hoped political tension between China and the West would be a “short-term phenomenon”.

“We as business people are hoping for better relationships so that the environment for business exchange and investment can be more welcoming,” Xu Weiping told Property Week.

However, one senior central London office agent said that inevitably some Chinese companies would rethink their UK presence: “I don’t see the banks going anywhere, but with tech and media occupiers, who knows? They are creating headlines that put scrutiny on almost every single Chinese firm, which is unfortunate for the ones trying to operate here.”