Leading today’s roundup of headlines from around the region, a Singaporean developer is selling a commercial building in southwest China that houses the Millennium & Copthorne-managed M Hotel Chengdu to a local investor. Also in the headlines, US design and construction giant Aecom is partnering with Chinese conglomerate Fosun to work on projects around China’s expanding bullet train network, and Japanese retailer Aeon is bringing robots to Shanghai. And the world’s third-largest pension fund is ramping up its overseas exposure, so read on for more details.
Singapore mainboard-listed First Sponsor Group’s unit Chengdu Gaeronic Real Estate Co is selling parts of a mixed-used residential and commercial project, Chengdu Cityspring, for RMB 65.0 million (about $72 million). The buyer is Chengdu-based hotel, real estate and finance company Minyoun Industrial Group Corporation.
Chengdu Cityspring comprises six residential buildings, four commercial buildings and 1,272 basement car park lots. The sale involves one of the commercial buildings, a retail space and 318 basement car park lots. M Hotel Chengdu, a 196-room four-star hotel, occupies parts of commercial buildings. Read more>>
Keppel Corp could book a S$114 million gain after it sells a 51 per cent stake in a prime commercial site in the Chaoyang district of Beijing for US$297.9 million, the conglomerate announced on Monday (May 28).
Keppel Land China, through a subsidiary, has granted CBD Aether Center an option to buy its 51 per cent stake in the holding company of Beijing Aether Property Development, which owns and is developing the site. The remaining 49 per cent stake in the project is owned by British Virgin Islands-incorporated Xeno Origin. The option price is set at U$94.1 million, which Keppel will be allowed to keep if CBD Aether does not exercise its option within 120 days. Read more>>
US infrastructure group Aecom has teamed up with a subsidiary of Shanghai investment conglomerate Fosun to carry out so-called “Transit Oriented Development” (TOD) projects in China.
Working with Fosun unit, Sunvision Holdings, Aecom will seek work on the back of China’s ongoing, rapid expansion of its high-speed rail network, which creates demand for auxiliary subway and metro rail systems, and other infrastructure. Read more>>
South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) plans to boost allocations to overseas assets to 40 percent in four years from the current 29 percent by strengthening the functions of its foreign offices, according to a Korean business daily, citing the pension fund’s top executive.
The NPS, the world’s third largest pension fund, has also increased its allocation to alternative investments to 10.7 percent of total assets under management (AUM) as of February 2018 from 5.8 percent in 2010, mainly through mandate outsourcing, The Korea Economic Daily says in a report on May 29. Read more>>
Japan’s Aeon opened a new research centre in Shanghai with a local startup, aiming to reshape the future of retail by harnessing leading Chinese technologies like artificial intelligence and electronic payments. The technology was developed by Aeon’s Shanghai-based partner DeepBlue Technology, which specializes in such cutting-edge technologies as AI, unmanned stores and robots for retail.
The retailer demonstrated some new advancements at the facility. One robot greeted attendees with “ni hao!” as it moved around the floor. Placing one’s palm over the robot’s sensor opens a compartment with refreshments and sweets inside. Customers whose palm prints are registered with cashless settlement services like Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay will automatically complete payment as they grab their snack. Read more>>
Airbnb Inc.’s founders were moments away from merging their China business with local competitor Tujia in January 2017. Executives and investors spent hours hashing out a deal. Preliminary term sheets were drawn up. Then in the final hour of negotiations, Airbnb pulled out and decided to forge ahead in China alone.
Tujia remains keen to cut a deal – although both sides deny formal talks – and says it’s simply waiting for Airbnb executives to accept reality. “We would love to issue shares in Tujia in exchange for Airbnb’s China operations,” says Tujia Chief Financial Officer Warren Wang. Until Airbnb is ready, “we will prove ourselves and show our muscle,” he said. “If Airbnb needs more time to understand that they or any other foreign tech companies just can’t do that well in China without a local partner, once we show them they’ll sit down and talk about a deal.” Read more>>
In a significant departure from the clichéd infrastructure company in hard hats and high-vis vests, John Holland has completely overhauled its brand for the first time in 69 years. Realising that not only customers, but also employee demographics, were changing, John Holland set about facilitating an employee-driven rebranding from the ground-up, which also marks a move for the company from B2B into B2C.
The 4000-person company has set its sights on doubling its business by 2021 and expanding into new markets including property development. In the next two years, it is set to bring another 3000 people on board. Executive general manager of customer and corporate affairs at John Holland, Larry McGrath, said growth was a significant driver behind the rebranding. The company was bought three years ago by CCCI, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company. Read more>>