Hong Kong’s Kwok family, which controls listed development giant Sun Hung Kai Properties has become the latest Hong Kong investor to bet that Brexit risks are overblown as the billionaire clan’s private investment body has agreed to take a 50 percent stake in a London residential development.
In an apparent reference to the Sun Hung Kai dynasty’s family office, the South China Morning Post has reported that Kwok Family Interests, is joining Irish developer Ballymore to build Goodluck Hope, a £500 million ($644 million) condo project in east London’s docklands. The Kwok family confirmed the investment in a statement to the SCMP.
The stake acquisition follows a string of London investments by some of Hong Kong’s wealthiest property tycoons, including deals by Henry Cheng of New World Development and Joseph Lau of Chinese Estates. The Kwok family controls a fortune estimated by Forbes to total more than $25 billion and has previously entered into UK joint ventures with Capital and Counties and other UK developers.
Making London’s Docklands a Bit Busier
The Kwoks are placing their London bet on Goodluck Hope’s 804-unit residential project on east London’s Leamouth Peninsula. Dublin-based Ballymore, which has projects in south central London’s Nine Elms area as well as building the London City Island development near Canary Wharf, touts Goodluck Hope’s proximity to rapidly growing commercial centres such as Shoreditch and Hackney as supporting the project’s prospects.
In addition to its condos, Goodluck Hope, which is still in the planning stages, includes 2,000 square metres of commercial space, 235 square metres for educational facilities, and the restoration of the historically-listed Orchard Dry Dock.
The investment comes as Thomas Kwok, formerly co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai, has been in court appealing his five year conviction on corruption charges, following a scandal involving former Hong Kong second-ranking official Rafael Hui.
Hong Kong Still Loves the UK
With mainland developers outbidding their Hong Kong rivals to win more than 30 percent of new sites put on auction in the city last year, according to research by S&P, Hong Kong’s local champions seem to be taking a larger share of their capital to the land of their former colonial overlords.
The Kwok family’s investment follows just over three months after New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun committed £1 billion to a London mixed-use development this past February. Cheng’s London investment, which he also chose to make via his privately held vehicle, Knight Dragon, made him the single largest Chinese investor in the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit decision.
Earlier this month tycoon Joseph Lau’s Hong Kong-listed developer Chinese Estates purchased 11-12 St James’s Square, a listed commercial building in London’s West End from the Employees’ Provident Wealth Fund of Malaysia for ₤174.9 million ($227 million). Thanks to the pound’s weakening against the dollar, Lau’s purchase of the high-end London commercial building was $13 million less expensive than what the Malaysian fund had paid for the property in August 2011.