| HONG KONG
HONG KONG Feb 24 Two mainland Chinese property
companies snapped up a piece of Hong Kong residential land at a
record-breaking price on Friday, highlighting once again the
territory's skyrocketing real estate prices.
Unicorn Bay (Hong Kong) Investments Limited, a unit of
Shenzhen-based Logan Property Holdings Company Limited
, and Guangzhou-based KWG Property Holding Limited
, outbid 13 competitors when they jointly won the
tender at a price of HK$16.9 billion ($2.18 billion), shattering
the previous HK$11.8 billion mark set two decades ago.
Mainland Chinese developers have been aggressively buying
land in Hong Kong, gobbling up 29 percent of the land sold in
Hong Kong's Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, earlier this
week warned that the city's astronomical property prices
continued to be an issue.
The buying frenzy has also raised concerns that home prices,
currently at a historic high in one of the least affordable
cities in the world, would continue to rise.
Moreover, it has deterred some major local players,
including Hang Lung Properties and Hopewell Holdings
, from bidding for land.
A top government official said on Thursday that competition
from Chinese developers is not an issue as Hong Kong is a free
market that welcomes competition from abroad.
"It does not matter where the capital is from. The most
important thing is they are investing in Hong Kong, and they are
here to build homes for Hong Kong people," said Secretary for
Development Ma Siu-cheung.
This marked the first time Logan Property, ranked 32nd
largest in China, and KWG Property successfully bought land in
the former British colony. The companies said in a joint press
release the plot of land, offering a panoramic view of the ocean
in southern Hong Kong island, is a "rarity".
(Reporting by Venus Wu; Additional reporting by Joy Leung and
Clare Jim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)