Hong Kong developer Swire Properties Ltd will see its real estate business on the mainland ramping up, accounting for a major portion of its global portfolio this year, a top company executive said.
The developer, owner and operator of mixed-use commercial properties expects over 30 percent of its global real estate projects to be in the mainland by the end of this year, with the opening of its second Taikoo Hui branded project－HKRI Taikoo Hui, in Shanghai by December.
"That will increase our square footage to 8.8 million square feet on the mainland, 33 percent of our world portfolio, compared with nothing 10 years ago," said Tim Blackburn, chief executive officer at Swire Properties of Chinese Mainland.
"We see it as strong evidence and confidence in the Chinese mainland market."
Eyeing Shanghai's rapid urbanization and the increasing demand for commercial space outside the Lujiazui financial center, Swire is also currently in the process of negotiating a retail project in Qiantan, one of Shanghai's hottest areas. The company aims to form the joint venture partnership with Lujiazui Co by the first quarter of next year and hold a 50 percent stake in the project with an expected total floor area of approximately 124,000 square meters.
Blackburn said the company's strategy is to develop retail-led mixed-use projects in tier-one cities. However, the company also has a strong residential brand in Hong Kong and if the right opportunity came along in the mainland, the company would look at it, he said.
Swire attaches great importance to the mainland, with past investment here having borne fruit, said Blackburn, adding that it was also a key component for the company's sustainable growth.
"We will continue to commit ourselves on long-term development in the mainland and keep our expansion radar on for good opportunities that fit in with our long-term strategy and business model," he added.
Blackburn said the real estate market is changing with more demand for high quality development in the fields of design, environment and operational excellence.
"In the past, as long as you build it people will come, but now after you build it, you need to manage it well and curate it for the long term," he said.
Swire Properties has formed various cooperation agreements with local companies including Sino-Ocean Group, CITIC Group and HKR International, and more are on the anvil, he said.
"We definitely see more partnership opportunities with mainland developers," he said.