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Mall developers see potential of Chinese consumer market

08-03-2010 11:15 BJT

SHANGHAI - Star Mall Group, a real estate and investment company in Turkey, announced a plan on Monday to open 10 shopping mall projects in China over the next 10 years.

"The 10 projects are expected to involve a total investment of $2 billion, with two this year and two next year," said Bulent Ulusoy, chief executive officer of Star Mall Group on Monday.

Ulusoy said one shopping mall project will be in Liaoning province and the other near Shanghai or maybe in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

Local real estate insiders said Star Mall is a key foreign investor in China's property market.

Singapore-based Keppel Land, an Asian property developer, is also committed to the Chinese market by expanding its footprint to key gateway and second-tiers cities with lifestyle developments and large-scale integrated townships.

Keppel is also planning projects in Chengdu, Wuxi, Shenyang, Tianjin and Shanghai to build townships with apartment blocks, said Augustine Tan, CEO of Singapore Residential, Keppel Land International.

Auchan China, a partner of Star Mall Group, will also invest 4 billion yuan ($590.48 million) to build two shopping malls in the latter half of this year, with one in Shanghai and the other in Ningbo, said Mark Lee, expansion director of Auchan China Head Office.

"China is a very potential market with people's income growing. The number of residents (required to support) a mall has decreased from 250,000 10 years ago to 120,000 at present and maybe 80,000 in the future," Lee said.

Ulusoy said Shenyang Plaza, Star Mall's first property in China, which is under construction with investment of $200 million, will be put into operation in May 2011.

Star Mall has joined with some of the world's leading retailers to develop the shopping mall business in China, he said.

Star Mall Group, a joint venture set up by FIBA Group, a conglomerate with operations in financial services and real estate, and Turkmall, an international property and investment company, is a pioneer in the Shenyang market.

"We intend to launch more projects in China's second-tier cities where there are enough space for building shopping malls as well as enough consumers with strong purchasing power," Ulusoy said.

He said a market survey is under way in 10 cities it has chosen in the terms of population, per capita income, traffic convenience and access to land.

Star Mall's Ulusoy said "the first project in Shenyang will serve as a weather vane to help us see how we are doing in the city, which is crucial for us to make the plan for the Chinese market to come true."

Ulusoy said he is not worried about the funds for the heavily invested plan which will be carried out in China in the next 10 years as Star Mall has signed an agreement with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for financial support.

"Wherever we launch projects in China, the bank will give us a financial helping hand," he said.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: China Daily

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