Chinachem Group this past week confirmed its purchase of TikTok’s London headquarters for a price of £158.5 million ($182.5 million) with the Hong Kong developer portraying the acquisition of its first overseas asset as a step toward diversifying its portfolio into new markets.
“Having now made our London entrance, we will incrementally increase our exposure in gateway cities of other major developed markets in order to move further forward our diversification objectives and build a long-term resilient income stream,” said Donald Choi, executive director and CEO of Chinachem Group, in the release. “However, Hong Kong still remains our home and the core market of our business operations.”
In a move which it says will help create sustainable growth, Chinachem announced its purchase of the building known as “the Kaleidoscope” from local developer Helical less than two weeks after it agreed to pay HK$451.2 million ($57.5 million) for a majority stake in a Hong Kong-listed senior care provider as the company prepares to expand into healthcare and senior living.
Also in its home city, Chinachem in the past month took a 49 percent stake in a HK$11 billion project by industrial giant ESR, and is now set to jointly develop up to 1.48 million square feet (138,000 square metres) of warehouse space in the Kwai Chung area.
“We’re delighted to have acquired Kaleidoscope successfully as it is located in a prime position in one of London’s most dynamic, vibrant and culturally rich sub-markets with impressive rental growth,” said Choi, who added that Chinachem “(intends) to hold this property for long-term investment.”
The privately held developer purchased the 150-year leasehold property on the corner of Lindsey Street and Charterhouse Street at a price of £1,789 per square foot for the 88,580 square foot (8,229 square metre) building, according to the statement. The agreed compensation represents a discount of around 12 percent from the seller’s asking price.
TikTok in March of last year signed a 15-year lease for the entire six-storey building atop the Farringdon East Crossrail Station. The division of tech giant Bytedance agreed to pay a blended rent of £86 per square foot of area per month for the project, and was granted a 24-month rent free period, property consultancy Savills said in an office leasing report last year.
The mainland video giant is said to be eyeing expansion in London, having in March announced that it would lease another 100,000 square feet of office space at Moor Place, which is within a 15-minute walk of the Kaleidoscope.
Chinachem’s UK purchase is part of a wave of Asian acquisitions of London office assets this year, which includes Singapore’s Ho Bee Land purchasing the Scalpel office tower in the City of London for £718 million in February.
Just a few weeks earlier, Hong Kong’s K&K Property had purchased 15 Adam Street, a commercial building in London’s West End for £66.1 million.
The office sector has been the top target in central London for cross border investors, said Oliver Watt, director for cross border investment at Savills. During the first half of 2022, investments in the office sector totalled £6.87 billion, Watt said. He noted that Hong Kong investors were involved in transactions accounting for 7.8 percent of that figure.
Over the same period, investors from Asia Pacific accounted for 48 percent of total investment in central London offices, Watt said.
In 2021, Hong Kong investors were the second largest source of Asian outbound capital, trailing only Singapore, with $6.7 billion invested over the period. That total represented a 60 percent jump from 2020’s COVID-inhibited figure, according to a report published in March by CBRE.