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Chinese Investors Put Money Where the Market Is
Brief:Chinese institutional investors and high net-worth individuals are favour overseas property for investment. New York, London, Singapore and Sydney have become the cities that Chinese investment growth has been especially strong.
Greenland Holdings Group's acquisition of a downtown Los Angeles site for a $1 billion hotel-office-residential project emphasizes how Chinese investors are putting their money where the market is - and it's not at home.

It's in the United States and elsewhere.

"We are extending the China market abroad, and we prioritize our investment to countries where Chinese immigrants, students and tourists like the most," Greenland Chairman Zhang Yuliang said Friday as the real-estate developer announced its acquisition of the 25,600 square-meter site from the California State Teachers' Retirement System, the second-biggest US pension fund.

The company expects to begin construction in six to nine months. On the day that the Los Angeles property purchase was announced, Greenland also said that its $480 million redevelopment project in Sydney that it announced in March has been approved by Chinese regulators and sales will start this year. Shanghai Greenland and Canada's Brookfield Asset Management bought two buildings for the redevelopment, which Shanghai Greenland said at the time was the biggest deal of its kind by a Chinese firm in Australia.

But as China's leadership maintains residential-property curbs aimed at holding down skyrocketing prices, the company - and other Chinese developers - are moving their investments into the US and other overseas markets. Greenland said earlier this month it planned to spend 10 billion yuan on overseas property projects this year.

Chinese investment growth has been especially strong in the five "super cities" of Hong Kong, New York, London, Singapore and Sydney, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. The first three cities have seen investments of almost $2 billion to $3 billion between 2003 and 2012, the firm said. David Green-Morgan, Jones Lang LaSalle's global capital-markets research director, told financial-news cable channel CNBC that Chinese individual investors are primarily interested in the industrial and hotel spaces in those cities, but a lot of demand is also coming from companies, he said.

"The Chinese government has a policy of globalizing Chinese companies, so we see a lot of demand from corporate who like to own their own buildings when they go overseas," Green-Morgan said. "They may rent some office space for a year or two and then look around for a building they can buy themselves."

Another reason for increased Chinese interest in commercial property is because "institutional investors and high net-worth individuals are able to transfer money out of China more easily now," Green-Morgan said. "That is a big hurdle taken out of the way".

In the US, the wave of Chinese real-estate spending is helping to revive a commercial real estate market that was damaged by the recession and slow economic recovery.

China Daily
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