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China's developer buys prime waterfront land in Malaysia

Source:   Time:

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese property developer Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd formalized on Tuesday a deal to buy a 22-hectare prime waterfront land in southern Malaysia's Johor state for almost one billion ringgit (328.6 million U.S. dollars).

The purchase was the largest single investment to date in the Iskandar Waterfront development opposite of Singapore.

Country Garden plans to build a luxury clubhouse, a 10,000-unit high end condominium and service apartment, a commercial tower and a shopping mall over the next 10 years in a project worth 18 billion ringgit (5.9 billion U.S. dollars).

"The investment that would take place in Danga Bay is a mirror of the success based on public-private partnership and success that attracted a partner from China that is highly-capable to materialize such giant project," Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said as he witnessed Country Garden signing the acquisition agreement with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, the master developer of the land.

Country Garden, one of the top ten developers in China, was listed as one of the 50 biggest companies in Asia by Forbes last year. "This investment is the first in Iskandar Malaysia by a group from mainland China. But I am certain it will not be the last," he added.

Phase one of the project will begin early next year and is expected to complete by 2014.

"They are the pioneers in this real estate field and I know some other developers from China are also studying the possibility of coming into Malaysia. The signing ceremony today I believe would encourage other developers and other entrepreneurs to come to invest in Malaysia," Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Chai Xi told reporters after the signing ceremony.

That was Country Garden's third project in Malaysia as it aggressively expands in a burgeoning property market that has been drawing strong interest from abroad.

"Our team has been performing very well in China as we are capable in terms of finance, branding and management. We make Malaysia our first stop in the overseas and when our projects here pans out well we plan to take it to more places across the country and to other countries," President and executive director of Country Garden, Mo Bin said.

Iskandar Waterfront is part of Iskandar Malaysia, a development spearheaded by state investment fund Khazanah Nasional that attracted the first Legoland theme park in Asia, UK-based Pinewood Studios and several UK universities such as Newcastle and Southampton to open their campuses here.

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