Forest City's China showrooms reopen; 'global buyers targeted'

JOHOR BARU • Half of the sales galleries of Country Garden Holdings in China have been reopened since Monday, as the Chinese property company adjusts its marketing strategy to target global buyers, a senior company official said yesterday.

"We wanted to update our marketing materials in the galleries to highlight our various domestic projects within Chinese shores," said Mr Yu Runze, chief strategy officer of the firm's Malaysia subsidiary, Country Garden Pacificview.

Media reports of the closure of its showrooms in Chinese cities made news in Malaysia and the region because the galleries were promoting Country Garden's Forest City mega-development in Johor.

The company did not say how many showrooms were closed or had been reopened.

Forest City, a US$100 billion (S$142 billion) project comprising four man-made islands in the Strait of Johor facing Tuas, has sold thousands of apartments, with Chinese nationals accounting for 70 per cent of buyers.

The company said last week that the sales centres had to be temporarily shut down to adjust its brochures as China tightens its grip on its nationals moving funds out of the country. Country Gardens also wanted to better reflect its strategy to attract buyers beyond the Chinese market. Mr Yu said yesterday that sales galleries in Chinese cities with a large population of foreigners - like Shanghai - would feature Forest City heavily.

He said that while the company was not in the best position to comment on China's controls on foreign exchange transactions, it always realigns its marketing strategy to respond to any policy changes in China and Malaysia.

"Chinese nationals are not allowed to convert yuan into foreign currencies to invest in property overseas. This has always been the case. We have always focused on those with offshore capital," he said.

Mr Yu said Country Garden has showrooms in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and plans to open galleries to promote Forest City in India, Cambodia, Laos and Dubai soon.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline Forest City's China showrooms reopen; 'global buyers targeted'. Subscribe