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Wanda’s Wang tops Real Estate Rich List for 3rd year

2014-10-10 08:52 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Average wealth of property tycoons shrinks amid industry slowdown

Real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin continued to be on top of the Hurun Real Estate Rich List, the Hurun research institute said Thursday in a report based on the 2014 list, though the average wealth of the individuals on the list declined compared to last year.

This is the third consecutive year for 60-year-old Wang, founder and chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, to be ranked as the richest entrepreneur in the property sector in China, with a fortune of 110 billion yuan ($17.93 billion), the report showed.

The threshold of the top 50 richest entrepreneurs on the list dropped to 6.5 billion yuan, 13 percent less from the 2013 list, and the average wealth of these 50 individuals also declined by 5 percent year-on-year to 14.9 billion yuan, according to the report.

The decline in the average wealth of the rich entrepreneurs was mainly caused by a slowdown in the residential property market, Wang Yongping, secretary--general of the China Commercial Real Estate Association, told the Global Times Thursday.

In September, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co, the real estate subsidiary of Wang's Dalian Wanda Group, filed application for its IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which analysts believe is intended to raise funds to support its development in the country's oversupplied commercial property sector.

The IPO is set to be the biggest in Hong Kong since AIA Group raised $20.5 billion in 2010, Reuters reported in September, quoting its own research data.

As the country's leading commercial property developer, the total assets of Wanda Commercial Properties hit 260 billion yuan and annual net profit reached 24.8 billion yuan in 2013, said the Hurun report.

In the commercial properties market, China's developers will still see more business opportunities especially in the key areas such as the capital economic circle comprising Beijing, Tianjin and North China's Hebei Province, Li Shen, senior associate director of consulting department for North China at DTZ, a global real estate consultancy, told the Global Times Thursday.

There is also an obvious trend of investment overseas among the wealthiest real estate individuals partly because of the strong position of the yuan and cheaper property prices overseas, Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chief researcher of the institute, whose Chinese name is Hu Run, said in the report.

And slower growth of China's residential real estate market as well as Chinese consumers' growing interest in overseas properties are also the driving factors for the property companies' expansion to other countries and regions, Hoogewerf noted.

Wang Jianlin has speeded up expanding globally in the past one year including investments in Los Angeles, Chicago, Australia, and Madrid, with total value reaching over 20 billion yuan, the report said.

The second-richest person on the Hurun Real Estate Rich List 2014 is Chen Lihua, 73-year-old chairwoman of Fu Wah International Group, which completed acquisition of Park Hyatt hotel, a landmark building in Melbourne with a total value of A$130 million ($115.31 million) in June.

Yang Huiyan, daughter of property developer Yang Guoqiang and the biggest stakeholder in her father's firm, Country Garden, is ranked third.

Yang's total wealth declined by 21 percent year-on-year to 33.5 billion yuan in 2014, the Hurun report said. Dragged down by the impact of Malaysia Airline flight MH370 incident and a conservative business target, the share price of Country Garden has declined by as much as 50 percent since March compared with half a year ago, according to the report.

As the first Chinese real estate developer to enter Malaysia, Country Garden has invested in five projects with total value of 10 billion yuan in the country by the beginning of 2013, China Business News reported in December 2013.

Wang of the China Commercial Real Estate Association predicted that China's property market will see a slight rebound stimulated by the central bank's recent policy to ease controls on housing loans.

The central bank announced a raft of measures on September 30 to ease mortgage conditions for homebuyers. Second-time buyers will be treated as first-time homebuyers as long as they have repaid previous home loans, and can also enjoy 30 percent down payment requirement and an interest rate as low as 70 percent of the PBOC's benchmark rate, compared with a 50 percent minimum down payment and benchmark interest rate of at least 110 percent previously.

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