CapitaLand opens US$350m complex in central Shanghai
Mark O'Neill in Shanghai
CapitaLand, a major investor in China's real-estate market, has opened one of the biggest property investments by a Singapore firm in central Shanghai - the US$350 million Raffles City shopping centre and office complex.
Overlooking People's Square, the 59-storey building took nine years to complete and has 87,000 square metres of office space and 40,000 square metres for retail.
CapitaLand, one of Southeast Asia's biggest property and hotel groups, acquired the site in 1994 but needed two years to move the tenants out.
Singapore's Senior Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, broke ground on the site in 1996. However, the Asian crisis froze the project until work resumed in early 2001 and was completed at the end of last year.
CapitaLand China chief executive Lim Ming Yan said the retail centre had been fully leased, with a monthly turnover of more than 20 million yuan and 30,000 to 50,000 shoppers a day, while the office tower was more than 80 per cent leased.
'We are the fourth largest investor country in Shanghai and its seventh largest importer. More than 3,000 Singaporeans live in Shanghai,' CapitaLand chief executive Liew Mun Leong said.
'We will need to lower their costs wherever possible, get out of old activities which China can do better and go into new activities that complement China's strengths. Our businessmen must actively venture out of Singapore to invest in China's growth. That way, we make China a growth engine for the Singapore economy.'
Mr Lim said CapitaLand's investment in China - S$1 billion (HK$4.51 billion) - accounted for 7 per cent of its assets and the company was looking to double that within five years.