Real estate companies go where Chinese go

Updated: 2013-10-30 17:31


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While the Chinese real estate industry is marching into the overseas market, its first choice is usually countries where there are many Chinese people, such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, International Finance News reported.

Chinese real estate enterprises investing in the overseas property market can date back to the year 2006, when Shanghai Industrial Group, joined by Ningbo United Group, Jinjiang International Group and Greenland Group, made a $1.346 billion investment of the "Baltic Pearl" project at Finland Bay in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The most recent investment was made on October 2012. Greenland Group and US Forest City Group started a joint venture and made an acquisition of the Brooklyn Atlantic Square real estate project. The total investment exceeded $5 billion and is the largest single real estate project in the last 20 years in New York. Greenland Group has successfully entered six countries including the US, South Korea and Australia.

Actually, top Chinese real estate enterprises have never missed any parties that explore the overseas market.

Since 2012, large real estate companies including Vantone Real Estate, Capital Group, China Railway Construction Corporation and SOHO have all had real estate projects or made investment plans in the overseas market.

"They would be ashamed to claim themselves as ‘first-tier companies' if they do not explore the overseas market," a real estate commentator joked.

In 2012, Dalian Wanda, China Oceanwide Holdings and Russian North Caucasus Resorts company signed an intent agreement with a total investment of $2.5-3 billion, planning to build large cultural, tourism and commercial facilities in Moscow, St. Petersburg and North Caucasus.

Earlier this year, China's biggest real estate company, Vanke, entered the US by buying a 70 percent stake of Block 201 in Folsom Street, San Francisco from its real estate veteran developer, Tishman Speyer.

Another Chinese real estate giant, Country Garden, has invested five real estate projects in Johor Bahru in south Malaysia last year and now these projects are for sale. The thousands of houses built have been proved to be very popular and over 10 million yuan worth of houses have been sold. What is worth noticing is that 60 percent of the buyers are Chinese.

It is easier for those Chinese who want to make a property investment in a foreign country to choose large domestic enterprises. They are more familiar to the Chinese people and can be quickly identified with, Country Garden explained.

In fact, the first choice for most Chinese real estate enterprises who have marched into the overseas market is those countries where there are many Chinese residents, such as the US, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

In recent years, the number of buyers from the Chinese mainland has been soaring, leading to the heating-up of the overseas property market. In Europe and the US, many natives have complained that the influx of Chinese investors has driven up house prices.

Global real estate service provider Savills' data show that buyers from the Chinese mainland have become the largest buying group of private residences in Singapore since 2010, beating the Malaysians and Indonesians.

"We go where Chinese people go," Vanke President Yu Liang said straightforwardly.

Although some countries have rules that state a certain proportion of the houses must be sold to the natives, the large number of Chinese buyers has given Chinese real estate developers enough confidence for their overseas gold rush.