The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) is teaming with Hong Kong's HKR International and Malaysia's Ipoh Gardens to embark on a US$200 million property deal in Tianjin. They will carry out a mixed-use development, comprising retail, office space, apartments and a 400-room hotel located in the city's business district. A specialist hotel operator such as Marco Polo Hotels or Singapore's Lee Kim Tah could be drafted in to co-own and manage the hotel, the consortium said. HKR International and Ipoh are old partners with GIC, having teamed up before on property projects in Australia and Japan. With this project, to be called The Exchange, GIC will hold a controlling 60 per cent stake, Ipoh will take 25 per cent and HKR, controlled by the family of Payson Cha, 15 per cent. The development will comprise three 38-storey towers, spread over a plot of 163,600 square feet, with completion scheduled for the turn of the century. Nicholas Lim, chairman of Tianjin Ao Zhong Development, which will oversee the project, said property development opportunities in Tianjin had been largely overlooked, with most developers opting for more fashionable cities such as Shanghai. 'It is the third largest city in China, yet its real-estate infrastructure hasn't kept pace with the underlying economic development,' he said. 'Tianjin's rapid growth is such that it is no longer effective to service a growing business there from [nearby] Beijing. The momentum is also generated by Beijing's decision to move some of its industries to Tianjin.' Early this year, GIC teamed up with HKR to take a stake in a consortium which clinched a prime 212,050 sq ft land parcel in Tokyo, near the upmarket shopping district of Ginza. The land is slated for office, hotel and retail development. GIC is the largest of the Singapore Government's three investment management companies. The investment is seen as part of HKR's expansion for its investment in China and overseas. HKR's mainland projects include a 95 per cent share of a 704,293 sq ft residential and commercial development in Shanghai's Zhabei district, and an 80 per cent stake in a residential and commercial project on a 118,404 sq ft site in Guangzhou. The group has indicated its intention to double investments in the mainland to 20 per cent of the group's total assets. It said overseas expansion would provide a geographical spread to minimise the company's investment risk, although the focus remained in Hong Kong.