China's largest commercial property firm sells two Australian projects

Updated 2018-02-07 14:15:02

Just days after reportedly selling off a high profile luxury development project in London, Dalian Wanda Group has sold two of its prized Australian assets.

"They did own two iconic buildings, Goldfields House right in Circular Quay and the Jewel which is a big landmark development right on the Gold Coast so they've been very visible," said Think Global CEO David Thomas.

The Sydney project perched on the edge of the city's iconic Circular Quay, and the Jewel luxury apartments and resort along Australia's Gold Coast sold for considerably less than the value of the properties. AWH Group paid 315 million Australian dollars (248 million US dollars) and will repay more than 800 million Australian dollars of Wanda's debt.

University of Sydney School of Business lecturer Wei Li said the string of overseas investment sales is the result of tightening by Chinese regulators.

"What we've seen in 2017 is change of regulations basically saying we have categories of investment, and in those categories if it is banned or restricted, these are areas where it is less encouraged by the Chinese government," said Li. "It is ultimately linked to the stability of the banking sector in China."

Dalian Wanda Group still owns one of Australia's largest cinema chains, but the latest sell-offs have raised questions about the future of Chinese investment in Australia, which was worth about 15.5 billion Australian dollars in 2016. Li said while Chinese investors are buying less property, an increasing number are venturing into other sectors.

"There is a lot more investment into infrastructure, into agriculture, into services like healthcare," she said.

Dalian Wanda Group is also reportedly seeking to sell off assets in Los Angeles and Chicago.

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