Warburg Pincus, a leading private equity investor, bought a 25 percent stake in Shanghai ZK Real Estate Development Co yesterday for an undisclosed amount.
According to the deal, Warburg Pincus, which has invested more than US$500 million in 20 Chinese firms in a number of sectors, agreed to provide at least US$30 million for housing projects invested and managed by ZK Real Estate.
The purchase allows the US firm to tap the property market in China's small and medium-sized cities, supplementing its strong investment in the first-tier cities.
"Because of a series of government policies to rein in the country's overheating property market, fundamental changes have happened in the industry and we felt great pressure to survive and compete in the market," said Bian Huacai, chairman of ZK Group, the major stakeholder of ZK Real Estate.
As banks tighten their lending, property developers are looking to overseas capital.
"Currently our business is centered in the second- and third-tier cities and we hope to enter these most promising cities," said Wang Qian, CEO and managing partner of ZK Real Estate.
Although it was set up under a year ago, ZK Real Estate is developing nearly 600,000 square meters of floor space in the second-tier cities in East China's Anhui, Jiangsu and Jiangxi provinces, targeting higher-end consumers.
(China Daily January 30, 2007)