Property tycoon pessimistic on retail markets

Business | Esther Yu 29 Apr 2016

Hang Lung Properties (0101) chairman Ronnie Chan Kai-chung said both the local and mainland retail markets are going to remain weak for the foreseeable future.

"It will eventually go up again" the tycoon said after the firm's shareholders' meeting, "but just not in the foreseeable future."

Weak performance of the Chinese retail market is compelling even high-end luxury brands to cut prices. Italian fashion house Valentino said yesterday that it was cutting prices by 8-18 percent in Asia.

A weakening market implies the developer will remain cautious about investing in the mainland, Chan said. His view of China's residential market is mixed.

"In the first-tier cities, housing is heating up with Shenzhen alone seeing prices rising by 60 percent, while third and fourth tier cities are in a horrible shape. One market is in a heaven while [two] are in hell," he said.

The group will focus on 60 to 70 second- tier cities, especially office and mall projects.

Asked if he was going to buy more sites in the mainland as prices recede, Chan said not many developers are keen on plots up for auction.

He is happy with sales at The Long Beach, a mass market housing scheme in Tai Kok Tsui that was re-launched recently, saying they have been good given the situation .

"Bidding for sites is easier for us if our competitors hold a more bearish view on the market," he said yesterday.

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