Silverstein Properties, developer of the World Trade Centre towers in New York, bought a 51,416 square metre lot in Qianhai yesterday for a mixed-use project for 13.4 billion yuan (HK$17.1 billion), pushing the price of local land to a record.
This is the sixth parcel sold in six months through public tenders, raking in a total of 40.7 billion yuan for the 15 square kilometre special zone, created in 2010 to test the nation's yuan liberalisation and financial reforms.
Qianhai is now facing competition from Shanghai and 10 other special zones across the mainland.
"It's a pretty fair market price, although it is much cheaper compared with land price for office buildings in Hong Kong," said Joseph Tsang, a managing director at global property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle in Hong Kong.
"Qianhai is a development focus for the mainland and has a very good outlook as more financial companies move their back offices there."
The price tag of 28,113 yuan per square metre is 74 per cent higher than the 16,153 yuan per square metre paid in November last year by Shimao Property for a commercial office development and topped the 21,669 yuan per square metre by China Resources Land for a commercial site in Qianhai in August.
Teaming up with Qianhai International Energy Financial Centre, Silverstein outbid four other groups - Chow Tai Fook Enterprise and Excellence Group, which bid 13.3 billion yuan, Shenzhen developer Centralcon, which offered 11.8 billion yuan, Shanghai-listed developer Gemdale, which submitted 9.5 billion yuan, and a Hong Kong company, according to the Shenzhen land exchange centre website and media reports.
The project will have a gross area of 477,000 square metres, including 303,310 square metres of office space.
Qianhai signed a memorandum with British Virgin Islands to promote financial industry co-operation.
More than 1,000 financial companies have registered in Qianhai, according to official data.
Tencent, Asia's largest internet firm, has said it will set up e-commerce and internet finance companies in the special economic zone, involving an investment of at least 10 billion yuan.