Country Garden unveils RM175b ‘Forest City’ project

Forest City Iskandar Malaysia by Country Garden

Artist’s impression of phase 1 of the Forest City development. (Image by Country Garden Holding Co Ltd)

Forest City Country Garden is a lush urban getaway located on four man-made islands in Iskandar Malaysia. Forest City is a joint development between Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed property developer with Johor’s Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd.

Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project is Southeast Asia’s firsts and largest mixed-use green development in terms of the number of units to be built with a vertical greenery and smart city design theme. Spanning over 1,386.05 hectares on four man-made islands with an estimated investment of RM175.8 billion over the next 20 years, Forest City Country Garden is expected to fuel the economy in Iskandar Malaysia region and neighbouring Singapore.

The entire development of Forest City Country Garden project revolves around a multi-layered three dimensional city planning, with lush vertical greenery covered with dense foliage and multiple forms of public transportation operating at high efficiency, sustainable and renewable energy infrastructures. With the use of futuristic green design and smart technologies, Forest City is set to become a role model of future cities. Forest City Country Garden has adopted best practices to minimise environmental impact through integrated solutions to achieve zero impact to the surrounding area.

“This is a fresh idea where it will have four multi-layers development and the public would not see any vehicles on the road as Forest City Country Garden would be filled with greenery on the top layer while underneath is for roads and parking bays use by vehicles”, Country Garden Holdings chairman Yeung Kwok Keung said. “We also provide effective transportation system for more than 100,000 residents living there. Forest City will be a dream for the community to live and work there,” he said.

To date, Forest City Country Garden is Country Garden’s largest real estate project outside of China, part of the Group’s internationalisation strategy to establish a larger overseas presence. Elsewhere, the Group has completed residential projects in Australia and Malaysia and eyeing to launch real estate projects in Indonesia and Vietnam in the near future. Recognised by the Guangdong provincial government as one of the top developers in China, the Group has delivered quality homes for two decades and has successfully developed over 100 cities globally.

Mr Mo Bin , Chief Executive Officer of Country Garden Holdings, said: “Forest City Country Garden is the first of its kind mega development in Southeast Asia— car-free zone, luxury green living coexists with smart technologies and amenities. Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project is surrounded by the wonders of nature and is of close proximity to centres of education, healthcare, transportation, financial centres, and leisure attractions. Forest City is a city for the future, a vision and longing that was born out of 30 years of experience influenced by China’s pace of internationalisation.”

“Through the unveiling of Forest City Country Garden in Iskandar Malaysia, I am proud to note that Country Garden have completed our transformation of achieving international landmark projects. Rather than another pure real estate project, Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project is a culmination of our wisdom, knowledge and experience that brings to life an eco-city of the future in its true sense. With Forest City Country Garden, we are offering a perfect mix of luxury tranquillity, urban vitality and proximity in the heart of Southeast Asia.”

“The first phase of the Forest City development will comprise condominiums and high-rise coastal residences, which will be released for global sales in Singapore, China and Malaysia in due course,” he said.

“The two- to four-bedroom condominiums range from 818 sq ft to 1,915 sq ft,” he added.

Forest City residences will also have access to amenities including a world-class hotel, fitness clubs and swimming pool.

Eight industries such as education, healthcare and tourism will be the main economic pillars to the growth at Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project. As part of the long-term planning for Forest City, Country Garden is in discussions with Malaysian local government to set up dedicated entry points to Forest City Country Garden such as a light rail transit system and a ferry network that links to Singapore and the planned high-speed rail between Singapore and Malaysia.

Comment on the launch of Forest City Country Garden Datuk Md. Othman Haji Yusof, Executive Director of Country Garden Pacificview, said: “This is a historic day not only for Forest City Country Garden, but for Malaysia, our business partners, and, just as significantly, for the global real estate industry. Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project represents an unprecedented alliance of two powerhouses in the real estate, financial and construction industries, and signals a shifting of the sands for the futuristic township development. Forest City Country Garden also represents the perfect destination for work, play and live for a global generation in Iskandar Malaysia.”

Meanwhile Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Daing A Malek Daing A Rahaman, who was present at the event, said the Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project would offer various opportunities to foreign investors.

“Besides its location along Johor Straits, its unique designs will attract foreign investors and offers opportunities to all,” he said.

Launched in 2013, Forest City Country Garden initial gross development project is RM450bil and is expected to create 220,000 job opportunities upon completion in 2035.

Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project, build on four man-made islands near Tanjung Kupang, has already received RM170bil worth of commitment investment.

About Country Garden Holdings Limited

Country Garden is one of China’s leading integrated property developers. It has standardised operations with business comprising property development construction, installation, fitting, property management, property investment, as well as hotel development and management. In addition, Country Garden has been named by the People’s Republic of China State Administration for Industry and Commerce as “China’s Well-Known Trademarks” in the property sector in 2006. The Group has over 20 years of experience in building large-scale townships and currently has more than 300 projects globally. Country Garden townships are known for high-quality construction, outstanding design, and state-of-the-art landscaping and five-star lifestyle facilities. Today, Country Garden is a top 10 real estate developer in China and is Forbes Top 30 listed companies in Asia.

About Forest City

The Forest City Iskandar Malaysia project is a 14km2 mixed-use development located at Iskandar Malaysia. Adjacent to the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link, it is a joint venture development between Country Garden and Malaysian partner Esplanade Danga 88 where Country Garden holds a 60 per cent stake. With a committed investment of approximately RM170 billion, it is composed of four reclaimed islands with the twin themes of ‘integrating businesses and the city’ as well as ‘urban innovation’. The Forest City Iskandar Malaysia aims to generate economic growth through eight key industries – tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, healthcare, education and training, regional headquarters, near-shore finance, e-commerce service base in ASEAN, application of emerging technique and service centre, and sectors related to a green and smart city.

“We will develop apartments, villas as well as schools, hospitals, exhibition centre, and a financial special administrative region to achieve city-industry integration,” Mo said, adding that the developer’s intention is to create a multi-layer eco-city, which has been designed to locate vehicular traffic and light rail transport away from ground level. While the huge project is still undergoing reclamation and infrastructure work, Country Garden said pre sales of apartments in one island would kick off in the first half of this year and the average price would be 1,200 Ringgit per square foot.

“700 units have already received presale permits from the government,” said Jason Fu, regional head (Malaysia) of Country Garden.When asked whether China’s slowdown and foreign exchange control tightening would affect its sales, the Country Garden’s chief strategy officer Jeff Lin said: “Forest City Country Garden is targeting global buyers rather than Chinese investors.” He added that more than 50 per cent of Danga Bay Country Garden in Johor had been sold to buyers who are believed to be coming outside of China. With the unique location, Country Garden hopes this project will attract large number of homebuyers from Singapore and boost the regional economy, he said.

“Johor to Singapore is just like Shenzhen to Hong Kong,” Mo said. “Shenzhen’s development has given us great inspiration.” He expects affordable prices will make homes in Johor attractive to Singaporean buyers. The relationship between Singapore and Malaysia is getting more connected as a high- speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via Jorhar is expected to begin construction this year.

Alan Tan Wing Wton, a director, ASEAN & South Asia at the Singapore Business Federation said he looked forward to Country Garden’s lead in encouraging Singapore companies to look overseas and invest in Malaysia.

Initiated in 2013, Forest City Country Garden project faced many challenges at the beginning. The proposed massive reclamation raised concerns about its environmental impact from both sides of the border and was once suspended in 2014. The project restarted last January after obtained final approval from Malaysian environmental authorities after assessment.

As a part of Malaysia’s Special Economic Development Zone in Iskandar Malaysia, Southern Johor, Forest City Country Garden enjoys beneficial policies including preferential tax rates.

China Developer Greenland Group

Malaysia is turning into the sweet spot for China developers. China developers turn their target as market restrictions in Hong Kong and Singapore become tougher and tougher. They are looking for cheaper housing and higher returns in Malaysia.

China state-backed Greenland Group announced this month to invest a US$3.3 billion deal in 2 residential and hotel projects in Johor Bahru, Flagship A Iskandar Malaysia. This is 4th China developer to invest into Iskandar Malaysia following its peers Country Garden, Guangzhou R&F Properties, and Agile Property Holding, which have invested in Iskandar Malaysia Flagship A, Johor Bahru City Center with a combined 2.7 billion US dollar in the past 2 years since January 2013.

In 2013 alone, Chinese investors invested a total of US$1.9 billion into real estate in Malaysia, exceeding the US$867 million invested in Hong Kong, US$1.8 billion in Singapore and US$1 billion in Australia, according to real estate consultancy Savills.

Zhang Yuliang said that Malaysia hosts a vast Chinese community and has foreigner friendly policies to attracted foreign buyers such as Malaysia My Second Home MM2H. These foreigner friendly policies has make Malaysia become a new investment destination.

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He added that Malaysia has enjoy stable economic growth, high population demand, well connectivity within the region and Iskandar Malaysia is located at strategic location which near to Singapore separated by a causeway. These factors are the reasons for Greenland Group to invest at the Iskandar Malaysia.

According to Tim Murphy, CEO of IP Gobal, Malaysia property prices are the cheapest in the region. He added that Malaysia has strong foreign property ownership and loose lender policies. Mortgage terms are lower compares to region. Foreign buyers able to borrow up to 70% of property price, while Singapore is 40% to 60% and Hong Kong is 30% to 50%. Rental yield also more attractive in Malaysia at 4% compares to Singapore and Hong Kong which is 3% and 2.5% respectively.

Beside that, 15% stamp duties on foreign buyers are imposed in Hong Kong and Singapore. Foreigners are blamed for pushing up local property prices over the past few years. This policy has deterred many foreign buyers especially China investors.

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Iskandar Malaysia breaking record land price sales

Johor land price received historical record high in transaction yesterday. Johor Sultan Ibrahim sold 6 pieces of land within Special Economic Zone Iskandar Malaysia with the total land coverage of 116 acres to China Guangzhou developer R&F Properties with the total price of RM4.5 billion ( Malaysia Dollar). The land price was transacted at RM890 per square feet, breaking the record of previous China developer Country Garden that bought the land at Danga Bay with RM363 per square feet.

According to report submitted by R&F Properties to Hong Kong Securities Exchange, it bought the land at Iskandar Malaysia with above price after negotiation with Johor Sultan Ibrahim. Report said R&F Properties will pay RM100 million as down payment, and the remaining payment will be paid within following 3 years in four time method.

The Chairman of R&F Properties Mr Li said this is the company first oversea land purchase. He mentioned that Malaysia has large Chinese population and at the same time local government implementing policies that attracting foreign buyer, so it is very suitable for the company first foray to oversea market. “Malaysia has strong economic fundamental and supported by huge human population, its properties market has strong potential growth.”


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016 – 888 4292 /
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