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AXA to enter China's property market
By Zhang Jiawei (
Updated: 2009-09-04 17:40

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers (AXA REIM) has signed an agreement with Ping An Trust & Investment Co, Ping An Insurance's investment arm, to cooperate in China's property market.

AXA REIM, which was under Europe's No 2 insurer AXA Group, hopes to have a share in the country's high-end housing market with the help of a local company familiar with the Chinese property market, according to a July 27 announcement.

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AXA to enter China's property market

The announcement revealed the cooperation will be divided into two stages. A cooperative agreement framework with Ping An Trust in investing in China's high-end housing market will be signed in the first stage, followed by setting up a platform for property investment by establishing a real estate investment fund with Ping An Insurance.

AXA REIM has been forceful about investing in China's high-end housing market in the mid and long term. It initiated the work of entering the market after the country's property showed signs of bottoming out, according to its announcement.

Instead of cooperating with a Chinese real estate company like many other foreign property companies, AXA REIM chose to partner with a trust company, which, according to Ye Jiancheng, director of the investment department of real estate consulting firm DTZ, is "rarely seen".

An anonymous source from a Chinese insurance asset management company said this kind of cooperation has signaled something unusual. According to the source, AXA REIM was more willing to turn itself into a localized financial investment company than just to pave the road for its Shanghai-based joint venture AXA-Minmetals Assurance's investment into the property market through the platform of Ping An Trust.

Li Yang, an analyst with Use Trust Studio, a website focused on trust issues, echoed the source's idea. Li said Ping An Trust was an important channel for Ping An Insurance's clients to invest in the property market through the form of trust capital. It was therefore possible that AXA REIM would offer money and Ping An Trust focused on searching for projects to invest in order to fulfill the cooperation, according to Li.

"AXA will certainly consider localization when investing in the property market, but I think the most important thing is it closely eyes the big market for insurance funds to invest in the property market," Li said.


The full text is available in the August Issue of China Insurance. Please visit E-Shop for more subscription details.


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