MANILA, Philippines - China's second-richest man plans to invest at least
US$2 billion to develop high-end hotels and other tourism projects in the
Philippines, officials said.
The chairman of the Shanghai-based real estate and furniture empire Shimao
Group met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo this week and
expressed interest in tourism investments, Trade Secretary Peter Favila said
Shimao was founded by Xu Rongmao, who ranked second on the Forbes' list of
400 richest people in China last year.
Favila said Shimao chairman Hui Wing Mau "told me he has made his decision,
he will invest here, in the Philippines."
A Shimao Group spokeswoman based in Hong Kong, Chow Yiu Hon, said she was
unable to provide any information at present because the company had yet to
announce its plans to shareholders.
A Shimao public relations manager in Shanghai said the company did have the
interest and intent to invest in Philippine tourism projects. The manager, who
gave only his surname, Qian, said the plan was in the initial stages and no
specific investment figures or other detailed information was available.
Arroyo was quoted as saying that the Chinese ambassador in Manila confirmed
Favila said the Shimao Group was apparently convinced to undertake projects
because of an increasing influx of Chinese tourists in the country and the
limited hotel capacity. About 300,000 Chinese from the mainland visited last
Favila said the hotels would be built inside former military camps in Manila.