Evergrande Real Estate Group, a developer that recently postponed its Hong Kong initial public offering, has cut prices on a number of upmarket residential projects in Guangzhou by as much as 40 per cent to speed up sales. The move has triggered concerns that the Guangzhou-based developer was trying to raise cash by selling its properties at a discount. The firm said it had offered 100 units in the first phase of its residential project Royal Scenic Peninsula at between 7,980 yuan (HK$8,869) and 9,380 yuan per square metre. This compares with 14,000 yuan per square metre for the latest batch of units at National Day last year. It also offered some units in two residential projects - Jinbi Century Garden and Jinbi Lingxiu International - also in Huangpu district at a discount of 30 per cent, according to property agents. The average price had declined to less than 9,000 yuan per square metre, down from the highest transaction price at the development of more than 12,000 yuan per square metre, according to Ellis Wong Hin-ming, the managing director at Centaline China's Guangzhou branch. 'We can tell the company's strategy has been changing after its failed attempt to raise funds through listing,' Mr Wong said. 'It is not common for a developer to offer such a substantial discount in order to speed up sales.' Mr Wong also predicted the developer would continue to offer discounts on its other developments. However, a spokeswoman at Evergrande said the company felt no urgency to raise cash for operations. Rather, the discount sale strategy was a marketing gimmick to dispose of less attractive units at the lower floors or top floor of each block. She said more than 50 units at Royal Scenic Peninsula had been sold over the past few days. Following the failed attempt to list in Hong Kong, the company is hoping to attract about US$400 million from private equity firms and hedge funds through a private share placement. A source said potential investors flew to Chengdu, Chongqing, and Wuhan yesterday to view Evergrande projects before deciding whether to invest in the company. Evergrande has one of the largest land banks among listed mainland developers with a gross floor area of 45.8 million square metres. Of that, 30.5 million square metres has been approved for land-use rights certification. BOC International earlier said that including the guarantees or indemnity of 1.1 billion yuan, total debt was as high as 7.9 billion yuan.