Two co-founders of mainland e-commerce giant Alibaba Group are reported to have purchased a pair of luxury apartments in a posh part of Hong Kong’s southern district for a total of HK$560 million ($71.5 million), according to an account in the Hong Kong Economic Times.
Shi Yufeng and Jin Yuanying, a married couple who were among the 17 people who joined Hangzhou business superstar Jack Ma in co-founding Alibaba in 1999, are paying a steep price for their home on the exclusive slopes above Deep Water Bay, with one of the two purchases working out to a price of HK$74,000 per square foot, despite the current downturn in Hong Kong’s residential market.
The purchase could be convenient for the pair of mainland e-commerce pioneers to keep in touch with their business partner, Jack Ma, who spent HK$1.5 billion in 2015 to buy a home six kilometres away on Victoria Peak, and fellow co-founder and current Alibaba vice chairman Joe Tsai also maintains a residence in the city.
Co-Founders Invest in Neighbouring Units
Nan Fung Group and Vervain Resources, which co-developed the 8 Deep Water Bay Drive project where the couple bought their homes, confirmed Shi and Jin’s purchases in the development on the north slope of Shouson Hill above Deep Water Bay on October 26th.
While they exchanged vows after joining Ma in setting up Alibaba, Shi and Jin are buying in separate buildings at 8 Deep Water Bay Drive, with Shi having purchased the 4,214 square foot (391 square metre) C unit on the tenth floor of the project’s tower two for HK$312 million (at a rate of HK$74,000 per square foot), while Jin Yuanying purchased the 3,641 square foot B unit on the tenth floor of tower one for HK$250 million, or HK$68,500 per square foot.
8 Deep Water Bay Drive consists of a multi-family complex divided into two towers, as well as two stand-alone, five-storey luxury homes. The recently-purchased units, both of which have mountain views rather than overlooking the bay, went on the market in October, with Shi and Jin picking up two of the mid-sized homes.
According to Nan Fung Group, sales at the project were launched in mid-September, with three of the nine home initial tranche now having sold.
Hong Kong Now Home to Mainland Billionaires
With its convenient lifestyle and developed infrastructure, Hong Kong has become increasingly attractive to billionaires who have made their fortunes in China’s rapidly developing economy, but may now wish to make their homes closer to other tycoons than to the source of their wealth.
Jack Ma’s HK$1.5 billion 2015 purchase of 22 Barker Road on Victoria Peak still stands as one of Hong Kong’s biggest housing transactions ever, and was nearly three times the price of the apartments acquired by his co-founders, Shi and Jin.
Ma paid the equivalent of HK$151,653 per square foot for his Peak home, a price that was first surpassed earlier this year by another mainland billionaire, Cai Kui, the head of Junson Capital and a co-founder of developer Longfor Properties.
Cai paid HK$1.39 billion in March to purchase 2 Mount Nicholson on the Peak at a price that works out to just over Ma’s deal at HK$151,785 per square foot for the stand-alone home in the Mount Nicholson project jointly developed by Nan Fung Group, Wheelock and Company and the Wharf Holdings.
In 2016, Chen Hongtian, chairman of Shenzhen-based Cheung Kei Holdings, bought his own 9,212 square foot home on the Peak, paying HK$2.1 billion for the detached house at 15 Gough Hill Road, which he said he intends to use as his own residence.
Island South Hits the Headlines
8 Deep Water Bay Drive is located in an area that has seen a number of luxury transactions in recent months, including China Resources Land’s HK$5.9 billion purchase of a 92,087 square foot site over the summer. That plot at 39 Shouson Hill Road, is just a three minute drive from 8 Deep Water Bay Drive, with the acquisition, which was made by directors of the Shenzhen-based developer, breaking the record for a private residential site in Hong Kong.
Last week a semi-detached home at 37 Island Road near Deep Water Bay was sold for HK$800 million, or HK$180,000 per square foot, setting a new record as Asia’s most expensive house per unit area.