Singapore-based developer Ascendas is looking at the possibility of selling its industrial and business parks in the mainland into a real estate investment trust, according to an executive. The group develops, manages and markets IT parks, industrial parks, business parks, science parks, office and retail space and owns an investment portfolio of 300,000 square metres in nine cities including Shanghai, Suzhou, Xian, Hangzhou, Shenyang and Tianjin. 'Our mainland investment property portfolio is worth more than S$500 million (HK$2.5 billion). We are looking at the possibility of launching a reit to add value [to our investment],' said Tay Eng Kiat, the chief executive of Ascendas China. A further 220,000 square metres of industrial space were under construction and expected to be completed by next year, he said. 'These are spaces for companies involved in high-technology, research and development and industrial development,' he said. To enlarge its investment portfolio, Mr Tay said the company just bought a 16,000 square metre office building, Ocean Tower, in Shanghai for about US$300 million for long-term investment. But he expressed concern over the mainland's austerity measures to regulate foreign property investment which make it difficult to package mainland assets into reit. Asked about a timetable for the plan, he said: 'Every one is looking at it ... it is a matter of time.' Under the new regulations for reits that the government announced in July, foreign investors have to follow Chinese accounting rules which include the distribution of dividends out of profits. And instead of immediately distributing its gross income, a reit must set aside a certain amount of cash to pay taxes and cover depreciation costs. Besides China, the group also has investments in Singapore, India, Korea and the Philippines. Its flagship in Asia includes the Singapore Science Park, International Tech Park, Bangalore (India) and Ascendas-Xinsu in Suzhou. In 2002, Ascendas launched Singapore's first business space trust, known as the Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust. In June last year, Ascendas launched the Ascendas India IT Parks Fund.