UK group keen on tie-ups with Asian developers

Strawberry Star says it is interested in ventures with developers that have expanded to London

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2014, 6:25am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2014, 6:25am

British developer Strawberry Star Group says it is open to co-operation with Asian and Chinese developers which have expanded into the London property market.

"They need local partners, they need local services," chairman Santhosh Gowda said.

Gowda said Strawberry Star had deep experience in prime London properties and welcomed any joint-venture possibilities.

He said his company was a pioneer in developing property in Nine Elms, where Dalian Wanda's project is located.

"We were one of the first developers to spot the potential in London's Nine Elms shortly after the announcement that the US Embassy would move to the area, for example. Since then, a multibillion-pound regeneration has started in the area to transform it," he said.

Gowda said he noticed the growing number of Asian and Chinese projects in London targeting Chinese and Asian buyers.

More than 20 per cent of the units in the large London schemes in the development pipeline are under the control of Asian developers, according to Hanover Private Office, a London property acquisition specialist.

Gowda is confident in facing the challenge and has taken the initiative to tap Asian capital by opening offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Strawberry Star opened its first Asian office in Hong Kong last month, and it is going to launch its residential development, Hoola, London E16, which is in the Royal Docklands, in Hong Kong this weekend.

The company will open its Singapore office early next year.

Gowda said when the company started selling properties in Hong Kong in 2009, it was triggered by a market slowdown in Britain. But now, it was attracted by the strong Asian demand.

"At the time, the financial crisis had really hit [Britain], developers tended to shift their focus to overseas investors," he said. "Overseas investors show a preference for London, as [Britain] offers a stable currency and a solid regulatory framework."

Gowda said nowadays it was a direct result of the success the company had in its business here so far.

"Hong Kong and Singapore are currently worth 60 per cent and 40 per cent of Strawberry Star's Asia-Pacific sales, respectively," he said.

To differentiate itself from competitors, Gowda said Strawberry Star would also provide after-sales management services for buyers of its homes.