Checking in at the right times

| Siu Sai-wo 16 Aug 2019

The tendering of a Kai Tak hotel site attracted quite a few of the property market's "buy low kings," clearly with the intention of clinching a bargain.

Then Far East Consortium International won at a lower-than-expected price, meaning group head "Little Tiger" David Chiu Tat-cheong has scored again in pocketing a cheap site.

A long-time developer, Far East also has rather sizable property development businesses in places including Australia and Malaysia, though the group's business portfolio is in fact quite diversified. Following a "pan-frying fish on low heat" strategy, Little Tiger has slowly built up his own hotel empire over the years.

The group started its hotel business segment with three-star establishments. Its most talked about move was the acquisition of the former New China News Agency headquarters in Happy Valley/Wan Chai and converting it into a hotel.

As the property was bought super cheap in the post-SARS depression, so the return after completion has been super attractive.

Far East has continued to buy similar properties subsequently and became a big winner when mainland tourists flocked to Hong Kong under the individual visit scheme.

Little Tiger Chiu once observed that the hotel business may not be everyone's cup of tea as it requires holding a great number of properties for slow returns, which requires considerable patience.

But it is precisely because of patience that he has been able to acquire another site at a low cost, which will lead to another great hotel for the group within a few years.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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