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China's largest developer chases its first overseas projects

By Juwai, 09 August 2012
China Vanke, the country's largest home builder by sales, said it plans to develop its first overseas property as more Chinese buyers look abroad for investment opportunities, and that its first target would be the United States. Alex Frew McMillan and and Tian Chen report for Reuters. August 8, 2012 -- The move would make it the first top-tier Chinese home builder to expand outside China's borders, much as Japan's largest property companies ventured overseas in the 1980s boom. It also comes at a time when developers in the world's most populous nation are contesting with more than two years of home-buying restrictions in the domestic market. "International expansion is going to be an important strategy," China Vanke President Yu Liang told reporters in Hong Kong. "Because cash is not our forte, we would need a partnership, but we have the expertise in terms of customers." Yu said China Vanke is also targeting to expand into Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia. The company is looking at Busan and Jeju in South Korea, where many Chinese businessmen have settled or are doing business, Board member Shirley Xiao Li said on the sidelines of a briefing to discuss the company's half-year results. The United States is the first priority because of its large ethnic Chinese population and market size, she said. China's capital controls make it very difficult for companies that are listed domestically, like Shenzhen-listed Vanke, to export capital for development overseas. But the company recently completed the acquisition of Winsor Properties, a Hong Kong shell company that owns a shopping mall in the city, which it confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday will allow it to raise offshore capital for international expansion.