ASIAN investors have been staging a shopping spree in Queensland, Australia, acquiring numerous retail malls. A third of the 35 Queensland shopping centres sold over the past 12 months were bought by Asians, including many from Hongkong. Many of the sales were by financial institutions wanting to get rid of distressed properties. The biggest transaction last year was the A$200 million (about HK$1.1 billion) sale of the Myer Centre in Brisbane's central business district to a Melbourne-based Chinese investment syndicate. This investment was offering a yield of 10 per cent. Hongkong investors bought Ipswich Plaza from the Kern Corporation for $30 million at a 12 per cent yield and the Sorrento Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast for $43.75 million at a 14 per cent yield. And two Hongkong families paid A$1.8 million for Kruger Shopping Centre, which was offering a 12.8 per cent yield. Mr Michael O'Reilly, managing director of Colliers Jardine's Brisbane office, said: ''There has been a surge of interest in retail shopping centres both in Queensland's capital Brisbane and in regional centres. ''Investors, particularly those from Asia, are attracted by the fact these properties are providing high yields and a cash flow underpinned by major anchor tenants, in many cases occupying up to 50 per cent of the leased area.''