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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd is looking to attract homebuyers from Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East for its $100 billion Forest City project in Malaysia, hoping to reduce its reliance on China amid Beijing's capital controls.
The mixed-use development, which will include office towers, malls and schools, is the most high-profile project in Malaysia's ambitious Iskandar special economic zone and is being built over 20 years on four man-made islands covering 14 square kilometres.
The project has sold thousands of apartments so far, with Chinese accounting for 70 percent of the buyers.
Forest City wants to diversify its client base, as Beijing looks to tighten its grip on funds moving out of the country after the yuan plummeted to more than eight-year lows.
"The capital controls will have an impact on Forest City," Yu Runze, chief strategy officer of Country Garden Pacificview, said in a email to Reuters, adding it was an "opportunity to shift our sales strategy to be more international."
He said the company will recruit local staff in the targeted markets and increase its advertising budget there.
Country Garden said this month it had shut some mainland China sales centres promoting the project for renovations amid the capital controls.
For 2017, the developer aims to attract companies in the tourism, education and healthcare sectors to set up shop in Forest City, Yu said.
He expects to sign memorandums of understanding with about 30-40 companies from these sectors in July and another 30-40 companies by December.
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Randy Fabi