New York-listed Jones Lang LaSalle and Colonial First State Property Management of Australia have entered into a joint-venture partnership to capitalise on the retail property opportunities in Asia. The 50-50 joint-venture company, to be known as Sandalwood, will focus on consultancy, leasing, development and shopping centre management. Sandalwood will initially concentrate on Singapore, Indonesia, India and the Greater China region, including Hong Kong, the mainland, Macau and Taiwan. Darren Steinberg, the head of Colonial First State Property Management, said: 'Asian economies are among the fastest growing economies in the world with real gross domestic product compound average growth of approximately 9 per cent per annum over the last five years.' The retail management and property development markets of these countries have grown at a compound average growth rate of more than 20 per cent in the same period, he said. Peter Barge, the Asia-Pacific chief executive at Jones Lang LaSalle, said the joint venture was coming at a time when the retail sector in Asia was enjoying robust growth, buoyed by consistently strong economic performance, positive consumer sentiment and increasing affluence in the region. The results of Jones Lang LaSalle's latest annual survey on retailer sentiment showed that 76 per cent of respondents anticipated higher growth in turnover this year. Meanwhile, nine in 10 respondents planned to expand their retail operations, the survey found. About 740 employees from Jones Lang LaSalle and Colonial First State will transfer to Sandalwood, which will be based in Singapore.