Building houses is a profitable business in China – something the Yanlord Land Group knows all too well.
But the property giant did not start off in real estate.
When it first set up shop in Singapore in the 80s, it focused mainly on trading and manufacturing.
With China as its main market, Yanlord soon found it hard to compete against local rivals.
But it was quick to spot another golden opportunity waiting to be tapped.
“There was a desperate need for housing in China, especially when we saw the poor living conditions in Shanghai and other cities in early 90s. We believe there’s a lot of room for growth in the industry over the next few decades,” said Zhong Sheng Jian, CEO of Yanlord Land Group.
Yanlord made its first foray into Shanghai’s real estate market in the early 90s.
It quickly flourished, leaving its marks in 10 major cities across China.
Today, Yanlord is the largest China-based property developer listed in Singapore.
But its success did not come easy.
“In the early 90s, China didn’t have the concept of housing maintenance. There were also other problems. So as a developer, we had to educate them,” said Zhong.
Born in China, Yanlord founder Zhong immigrated to Singapore in 1988.
Impressed with the city’s residential development, he decided to export the concept to China.
Now this Singapore experience has become one of the bedrocks of his empire.
“Singapore’s community had more than just condos, but also amenities, safety and maintenance. So we believe China’s future development will follow that of Singapore,” said Zhong.
Yanlord has sustained healthy growth from China’s property boom despite the global slowdown.
In the past year, residential prices in 36 Chinese cities have increased 40 per cent.
With Beijing is trying to curb the overheating housing market, Yanlord remains upbeat about future growth.
“Currently, China’s urbanisation has just begun, so the demand for housing is still growing. And every year, the newly-rich in every city demand for housing. So we see the next two to three decades to be the golden period of China’s property market,” said Zhong.
Yanlord has raised more than US$2 billion since its Singapore listing. And it’s teaming up with other Singapore companies like GIC and Ho Bee to expand their presence in China’s booming property market.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Sep 2010