Business / Industries

Chinese property firms' overseas expansion

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-12 16:55

GUANGZHOU - Property firms have quickened their pace of offshore expansion to meet the appetite of Chinese consumers and find new opportunities beyond the tepid domestic property market.

In the first quarter of 2014, institutional investors' offshore property investments rose 25 percent year-on-year to $2.1 billion, while the sum going to residential property grew by 80 percent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, a global real estate services and investment management company.

Chinese property firms' overseas expansion
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Chinese property firms' overseas expansion
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The overseas residential property investment by China's institutional investors in the quarter exceeded $1.1 billion, smashing last year's record of $600 million. The real estate projects in Britain, Australia and the United States were most favored by Chinese investors.

Offshore expansion by Chinese investors gets more impressive than the domestic market because it has a higher potential profit, analysts say.

Wanda Group, one of China's largest property developers, announced in January that it would invest up to 3 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) in British cities. Greenland Group also announced earlier this year that their overseas investment reached almost 35 billion yuan ($5.6 billion) in 2014.

Developers, abundantly liquid because of previous successes, are diversifying their portfolios, focusing on gateway cities, such as London, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore, according to Zhu Fei, researcher from Yuexiu Property Institution.

With the financial environment in foreign countries relatively benign compared to the Chinese mainland, some property firms have gone public in Hong Kong or the United States, Zhu said.

Growing appetite

The upsurge in overseas expansion can be attributed to the growing appetite of Chinese people for residential properties in pursuit of capital security, access to education and health care, permanent residency and citizenship, to name but a few.

Around 150,000 Chinese emigrate overseas annually, which is expected to generate a purchase demand for properties worth more than 75 billion yuan, said Li Qingwen, general manager of DTZ Real Estate Consultancy Company Guangzhou.

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