ING to launch China property fund

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 February, 2006, 12:00am

ING Real Estate, the property investment arm of Dutch financial services giant ING Group, plans to set

up a US$300 million fund comprising mainland properties by the second quarter to cash in on the

country's fast urbanisation.

The property fund manager, one of the world's biggest with a portfolio of US$77 billion, said its second

closed-end mainland fund would include various development projects in the country.

The fund is targeted at Asian, European and American institutional investors that prefer to put their

money into specialised property funds instead of entering into the mainland property market directly.

Although mainland property prices have shown slower growth after the central government's cooling

measures, the firm believed the party for international investors was still going on.

'Like other markets in the world, we might see some short-term cyclical ups and downs in China,'

Robert Lie, chief executive Asia at ING Real Estate Investment Management, told the South China

Morning Post yesterday.

'The important thing is the long-term trend is still solid. We see China's strong economy and fast

urbanisation will be translated into demand for real estate.'

The central government earlier introduced measures to cool speculative demand for real estate,

including higher down payments and a 5.5 per cent capital gains tax on homes resold in a short


As a result, growth of house prices in the 70 big cities last year declined to 7.6 per cent from 9.7 per

cent in the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

ING Real Estate has been active in the mainland since 1996. Its investments included the luxury 409-

unit Shanghai Racquet Club development, as well as other residential properties in Beijing.

ING Real Estate yesterday said it had sold its 328-unit serviced-apartment complex, Somerset Grand

Shanghai, in Lu Wan district, to Hong Kong-based Concord Land after holding the 41,800 square

metre development for three years.

The firm declined to disclose the consideration, saying the price tag was more than US$100 million.

'We always say we will not be married to our properties,' Mr Lie said. 'We look forward to reinvesting

the proceeds in the mainland market. We are looking at several deals in secondary cities now.'