Lendlease has hired former Ikea executive Hui Ding as its new managing director for China, reporting to Asia CEO Tony Lombardo, according to an announcement by the Australian property giant.
The ASX-listed developer said that Hui, who is based in Shanghai, is now tasked with overseeing the group’s business and growth in China where Lendlease has previously announced that it plans to build A$2 billion ($1.3 billion) in retirement villages by 2023.
“China is an important market for our growth and we are delighted to have Ding onboard to lead and strengthen our in-market engagements,” said Lombardo.
Hui leads a Lendlease team that has grown to about 200 people on the ground in China, with the group having delivered over 300 projects in the country since the early 1990s.
Delivering Lendlease’s First Retirement Community in China
Having been in post since March, Hui has been brought on board as Lendlease pushes forward with its RMB 1.9 billion ($270 million) maiden senior living development in Shanghai.
Slated for completion in 2021, Ardor Gardens will cover a site area of 85,000 square metres (914,932 square feet) and will deliver 900 retirement units.
Located in the heritage water town of Zhujiajiao within the city’s Qingpu district, the developer started marketing the project last July after securing 50-year land use rights for the site from the local government in April 2018.
From Flat Pack Furniture to Senior Living
Lendlease’s new hire has made the switch from the ready-to-assemble furniture retailer after twelve years as the managing director of Ikea Centres China.
During that time, Hui oversaw the expansion of Ikea’s Livat centres across the country, including the development of three megamalls in Wuxi, Beijing and Wuhan at a total investment of RMB 10 billion.
As managing director of the retailer’s mall development business in the country, Hui oversaw Ikea Centres’ $1.2 billion mixed-use development in Shanghai, which broke ground in 2018 and is slated for completion in 2022.
“Ding’s wealth of experience and industry expertise will be instrumental in advancing our growth strategy,” said Lombardo, who added that he was confident in Hui’s ability to take Lendlease’s China business to “greater heights”.
Hui had joined Ikea in 2003 as the CFO of IKEA China and was promoted to managing director of Ikea China Investment Company in 2006. Prior to that, the graduate of Hangzhou Electronic & Technology University had served in executive roles for PepsiCo Food China, American Standard China, and Philips Lighting.
Expanding Footprint in Asia Pacific
Hui’s appointment comes just over a month after Lendlease hired former Global Switch managing director Sam Lee to head up its data centre platform in Asia Pacific.
Lee is tasked with overseeing Lendlease Data Centre Partners, a $1 billion joint venture Lendlease formed last year to develop a data centre platform in Asia Pacific with an undisclosed institutional partner understood by Mingtiandi to be GIC.
With a combined initial equity commitment by the parties of $500 million, the partnership is being funded 20 percent by Lendlease and 80 percent by its institutional partner.
The joint venture will target data centre markets in gateway cities across Asia Pacific where the developer already has a presence, including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and China.