China National Real Estate Development Group (CRED), the mainland's largest state-owned developer, has called on the Taiwan government to relax remaining conditions on cross-strait property deals by mainland investors. CRED chairman Meng Xiaosu (right) said in Shanghai last week that the conditions had prevented the group from making large-scale property investments it might otherwise have been interested in to support the Taiwan market. Although the Taiwan government formally allowed foreigners to buy property on the island from 2002, only a few deals have since been closed by mainland investors, who were singled out to submit detailed reports about the source of their capital in order to secure investment approvals. In addition, Mr Meng said, mainland visitors to the island were still restricted to spending a maximum of 10 days per visit. 'How can mainlanders buy and invest there in these circumstances? How can we exit our investments?' he said. Further relaxations of measures were needed from the new pro-China administration in Taiwan to bolster cross-strait property co-operation, he said. Mr Meng added, however, that he was encouraged by changes in the political environment in Taiwan and believed President Ma Ying-jeou was keen to further improve links with Beijing. Last week, it was reported that Taiwan might further relax restrictions on cross-strait financial investments as the island moved to boost its economy and take advantage of warmer relations with the mainland. Huang Tsu-te, general manager of Taiwanese developer Shining Group, said mainlanders would welcome relaxations of remaining conditions on property investments since they had shown a keen interest in investing in the Taiwan market which they believed was due for a boost under the new government. Last month, a group of businessmen from Fujian province bought 12 luxury residential units and one commercial unit in a development built by Shining Group for US$13 million in Taichung (central Taiwan) during their visit, he said. 'Property prices in Taiwan will move up further once the government opens the market for mainland investment,' Mr Huang added, citing the evidence that prices of luxury residential units had risen 30 per cent since the March presidential election victory of Mr Ma. But standard home prices in Taiwan still lagged behind other financial centres such as Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, he added, and he expected that hotels and shopping centres would prove more attractive as investment targets. Mr Ma has proposed expanding the number of mainland tourists allowed to visit the island to one million a year, from 80,000 last year. But despite Shining Group's upbeat expectations for the market, the auction of a site proposed for luxury residential units in Taipei last month proved disappointing, failing to attract any bids.