A Malaysian fugitive leads the way in Mingtiandi’s roundup of Asia real estate headlines today with the news that the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB scam has agreed to forfeit property assets that include a boutique hotel in Beverly Hills and a mansion in London.
In other news around the region, home prices in the world’s least affordable place to live have fallen for the fourth consecutive month, while a Hong Kong developer is using its staff as guinea pigs for its blockchain “buy-a-brick” technology.
Elsewhere, another European retailer leaves Causeway Bay.
The U.S. Justice Department has struck a deal to recoup $1 billion in funds allegedly looted from a Malaysian state investment fund by fugitive financier Jho Low, in a record capture for a U.S. anti-corruption probe.
U.S. authorities say about $4.5 billion were siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), founded in 2009 by then Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak. Since 2016, the Justice Department, in the biggest ever case in its anti-kleptocracy program, has filed civil lawsuits seeking to seize about $1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB funds. Read more>>
Hong Kong private home prices dropped at a faster pace in September, marking the fourth consecutive month of decline, according to government data released on Thursday, as the financial city was hit by political turmoil.
The price drop of 1.8 percent, in one of the world’s least affordable property markets, compared with August’s revised decrease of 1.4 percent. Read more>>
In the latest sign that the city’s retailers are struggling to cope with the consequences of the more than five months long anti-government protests, cosmetics chain Bonjour Holdings has closed its outlet in the popular tourist district of Causeway Bay.
In August, landlord Early Light International (Holdings) said that Italian fashion house Prada was closing its 15,000 square feet store in June next year. Read more>>
Yesterday, Hong Kong real estate developer Stan Group announced the launch of a tokenized profit-sharing system for its employees. Using a private blockchain, the company is tokenizing real estate for employee incentives and recognition. The group as a whole has more than HK$50 billion ($6.5 billion) in assets under management.
A “Brick” is a blockchain token for a specific building. It’s associated with a smart contract that entitles the brick owner to a share of the capital gain when the building is sold. Read more>>
China’s richest builder Hui Ka-yan, the boss of Evergrande, suffered the biggest setback among the nation’s top ten property moguls after policymakers tightened the screw on the industry to curb speculations. Second-ranked Yang Huiyan retained her position as richest woman in the latest Hurun Report.
Hui’s net worth shrank by RMB 45 billion($6.37 billion), or 21 percent, to RMB 170 billion from a year ago, according to the Hurun Property Rich List 2019 released on Wednesday. Hui, also known by his Chinese name of Xu Jiayin, has seen his fortunes eroded over the past two years as Evergrande took a beating on the stock market amid a financing squeeze on developers. Read more>>
Chinese supermarket operators are increasingly using digital channels and data to boost their business.
“Our offline stores have been hit badly by online platforms, with shrinking foot traffic and plunging sales,” Peter Huang Ming-Tuan, chairman of RT-Mart China, a supermarket operator, told the 2019 Consumer Goods Forum, held in Hangzhou on Tuesday. If we stayed the same, it would lead to our demise, he added, while going online amounted to playing with fire. Read more>>
A mansion in Melbourne’s east, newly constructed units and more than 3,000 acres of Tasmanian farmland are among $17.3 million ($12 million) in property seized by authorities as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering by Chinese nationals.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) this morning said it had seized six properties in Melbourne’s east — including a new mansion in Mont Albert, three units and a townhouse in Box Hill North and a commercial property in Blackburn — and more than 3,000 acres of farmland at Musselroe Bay on Tasmania’s north-east coast. Read more>>
Tune in again tomorrow for more news, and be sure to follow @Mingtiandi on Twitter, or bookmark Mingtiandi’s LinkedIn page for headlines as they happen.