Wanda signs US$10b deal to build park in India

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A Wanda Plaza in Beijing. Dalian Wanda Group Co plans to build an industrial park in the northern part of India. [Photo/China Daily]

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group Co has agreed to invest up to $10 billion in India to build an industrial park in the northern part of the country, its latest efforts in expanding overseas.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Friday to build the Wanda Industrial New City, an industrial zone in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

According to sources from the Haryana government, the first phase of the project will be spread over 13 square kilometers covering an entertainment park and industrial park that houses companies in software, automotive manufacturing, machinery, healthcare education and other industries.

Wanda is mainly responsible for investing in the initial infrastructure and the real estate developer will attract other companies from home and abroad to get involved with the project, while a Wanda Cultural Tourism City and a residential district is also part of the blueprint, according to a statement issued by the Chinese company.

While many Chinese real estate developers are heading for developed countries on the European and American continents, eyeing potential wealthy buyers from China to invest abroad, Wanda's foray into India's property market is considered more of overseas expansion and brand export, said experts.

Xie Yifeng, the president of the Realty Association of Asia-Pacific Cities, said: "Wanda's advantage lies in its low-cost operation, mature development mode and rich operation management experience in investing in India."

However, he also warned of possible market, political and policy risks, saying large-scale commercial development has always been a contentious issue in India, where it takes several years to complete the land acquisition process.

The project, a result of negotiations between billionaire Wang Jianlin and Haryana State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar since last June, will kick off this year, Wanda said.

The investment is the largest foreign investment into India, Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director for South Asia at Cushman & Wakefield Inc in Mumbai was quoted by Bloomberg.

Wanda, however, is not the only Chinese real estate company interested in expanding in India. China Fortune Land Development Co Ltd, a listed property developer specializing on building industrial parks, on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Haryana government to build industrial parks, through which more Chinese enterprises will enter the India market.

"India's strong economic growth momentum, its demographic structure, low labor cost and stable exchange rate all make it a lucrative market for us," said Li Hui, operations head of Carrier Midea India Private Ltd, a joint venture between Midea and Carrier.

India's GDP growth is expected to reach 7.5 percent to 8 percent, and its young people (aged under 27) accounted for more than 40 percent among its population, Li said.

Midea's India business maintained an annual growth rate of 30 percent to 40 percent since 2013, while sales revenue has more than doubled during the same period, according to Li.

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