Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Evergrande chief: Chinese real estate giant returning to global arena

Evergrande Group chairman Wu Xiaohui says the Chinese property giant will become one of the leading real estate companies in the world following a series of high-profile projects in recent years.

Mr. Wu said the company faced a difficult and “darkest moment” following a severe corruption scandal involving many of its executives and board members in 2015. Evergrande’s stock has since lost about 80 percent of its value, after having started the year near $70 a share. Mr. Wu noted that while the company also faced many challenges over the past several years, it has also experienced a “great success” by returning over 1 trillion yuan ($150 billion) to shareholders. He spoke in an interview at Evergrande’s Beijing headquarters on Tuesday at the Global Education Investment Summit in the Chinese capital.

Evergrande has made major strides in the past year to expand its real estate property empire. It completed the controversial $2.9 billion deal for Australia’s Mirvac Group, and signed similar deals to acquire property developers in Canada and the United States. Mr. Wu said in the interview that Evergrande will not have to rely on real estate in the future, but expand into education, media, manufacturing and logistics.

“Evergrande will take a lead in the next big phase of Chinese growth,” he said. “Evergrande is moving forward with our global expansion.”

Evergrande, which owns developer Nanyang Technological University, has become a major force in Chinese real estate by buying up stakes in other property developers. In November, the company announced a plan to acquire a 25 percent stake in Chinese brokerage developer Hukou, which is expected to become the second-largest brokerage on the mainland. It already owns a 25 percent stake in Genting Hong Kong, a gambling and entertainment company in Macau.

To help expand the company’s reach in other international markets, Evergrande launched a $3.6 billion fundraising in September. Mr. Wu said Evergrande aims to increase its overseas revenues by 40 percent in 2019, from $520 million last year. He also said Evergrande, which focuses mainly on luxury and mid- to high-end projects, aims to boost its international housing revenues by 300 percent by 2020.

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