Business / Industries

Chinese firms step up overseas property investment

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-01-11 13:15

BEIJING - Confronted with a downturn in the domestic property market, China's deep-pocket investors are speeding up purchases of overseas assets to increase both profit and presence in the global arena.

"My last year was a tremendously busy year. In December alone, I was involved in closing 750 million sterling ($1 billion) of deals in the UK" said Chris Harvey, a lawyer facilitating real estate investment in London with Mayer Brown, a global law firm.

Most of Harvey's clients are Chinese investors, ranging from private property developers to state owned enterprises, as well as individuals.

Although a bullish A-share market distracted some investment in the first half, Chinese investors continued investing into real estate around the world.

In 2015, China's Anbang Insurance finished acquisition of America's most famous hotel Waldorf Astoria at the cost of $1.95 billion; China Investment Corporation spent over $1.7 billion to purchase Investa's Australia office portfolio; Ping An Insurance bought landmark Tower Place in London for around 460 million.

A report from Savills, a global real estate firm, showed the transaction of overseas assets completed by Chinese buyers is likely to surpass $20 billion for the whole of 2015, jumping from 14 billion registered in 2014.

The United States, Britain and Australia have become the most favorite destinations, the report said.

Chinese insurance companies have become major players in Britain's property market, focusing on office buildings in business centers, while developers such as Vanke are catching up, Harvey said.

Investment from China is expected to keep booming in 2016 as the domestic property market has yet to see a full recovery amid the slowing broader economy.

"This (surging investment) is only the beginning," Harvey said, "There will be much more coming from China."

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