The Chinese yuan, also known as the renminbi, is already convertible under the current account - the broadest measure of trade in goods and services. However, the capital account, which covers portfolio investment and borrowing, is still closely managed by Beijing because of worries about abrupt capital flows.
R&F plans push into east coast
Guangzhou R&F Properties, the largest developer in the southern mainland city, plans to expand into the country's eastern coastal region with the purchase of 10 billion yuan worth of sites in the next two years.
The expansion plan was unveiled after the company reported net profit rose 69 per cent to 2.14 billion yuan last year, while revenue rose 74 per cent to 10.18 billion yuan on sales of 1.03 million square metres of properties.
Chairman Li Sze-lim yesterday said the company would pay 600 million yuan for a project in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, its first foray into the eastern region.
The site will be developed as a low-density residential project with a gross floor area of 400,000 sqmetres. The average property price in the area was about 10,000 yuan per square metre, R&F said.
Adon Weng Jiaqi, a senior manager in the residential department at Centaline (China), said Taiwanese manufacturers with factories in Kunshan were likely to buy properties in the city.
'[However,] demand for low-density residential is limited, as most high-income earners including the Taiwanese manufacturers want to stay in Shanghai,' Mr Weng said.
R&F, which has most of its projects in Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou, was seeking growth further afield, Mr Li said. 'We'll target the purchase of 10 billion yuan of land bank in the eastern coastal cities over the next two years,' he said.
With the Kunshan project due to be launched next year, he expected the coastal investments to contribute to the firm's income in 2009.
R&F, which has a land bank of 17.89 million sqmetres, aimed to book 1.6 million sqmetres of properties this year, Mr Li said.
The company has recorded seven billion yuan in revenue this year from sales of more than 700,000 sqmetres. Next year, it aims to book more than three million sqmetres.
R&F saw property sales grow 49 per cent to 10.11 billion yuan last year, mainly from residential projects in Guangzhou and Beijing with an average price of 9,865 yuan per square metre.
The company proposed a final dividend of 20 fen per share, down 69.6 per cent from 66 fen a year earlier. Total dividend per share fell to 60 fen per share from 66 fen in the previous year.
Shares of R&F rose 2.48 per cent to close at HK$16.56 yesterday.