Asian Economy: Chinese Property Investors Roll Out Billions To Thai Industry, APAC to Acquire ERA Indonesia

Hotel in Bangkok
Tourists enjoy a swimming pool at a hotel in central Bangkok, Thailand, January 21, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

As Thailand's upcoming elections continue to be on the hot seat of political debates, Chinese property investors are focusing on their investments in the country.

The latest data from Chinese real estate portal Juwai.com revealed that Thailand attracted the most real estate-related inquiries last years. From being on the top 6 in 2016, the Southeast Asian country moved to fourth place in 2018.

While other countries also invested in Thai properties, data revealed that Chinese investors accounted for $2.3 billion in total investments.

The World Bank predicted earlier this year that Thailand's economy will slow down this year due to a global growth decline. However, it appears that real estate investors are still interested in the country's progress over the past years.

Ever since the 2014 coup, Thailand's economy strengthened. Data from 2017 revealed that the country's overall GDP growth increased to 3.9 percent. Some experts believe that no coup or political dispute could weaken investors' faith in the growing property industry of Thailand.

General elections are nearing but according to Juwai CEO, Carrie Law, investors from China don't seem to grasp "a link between Thai election and Chinese property buying," as reported by CNBC News. "While the election is momentous for Thailand, most of the buyers we work with are unconcerned about the outcome," she added.

Sansiri, a well-known Thai developer, established an international business department following the 2014 coup. The reason behind is the rapidly increasing interest that foreign buyers have displayed.

Sansiri's Assistant Executive Vice President of International Business Development Nanmanas Jiwattanakul revealed that Chinese investors account for 70 percent of the company's total international deals.

Nanmanas went on to explain that the Thai property industry, particularly the real estate developing services sect, progressed over the last few years, prompting Sansiri to build showrooms for Chinese and other buyers who want to invest their money.

Thailand has gone through numerous and extreme government changes since 2014. However, political tensions are far from the problems that foreign buyers are focused on. Since Thai property prices have doubled in the last 10 years, most investors believe that the country is a suitable investment ground where wealth can be grown steadily.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Monday that APAC Realty will purchase the ERA master franchisor for Indonesia. Multiple outlets revealed that the deal includes APAC taking over the Thailand ERA franchise. The deal is said to reach up to $13.85 million in cash.

According to The Straits Times, APAC Realty said the Indonesian property brokerage has over 6900 agents spread across 103 offices in the country. In 2017, the firm recorded around 10 trillion Indonesian rupiahs in transactions.

APAC Realty CEO Jack Chua said of the acquisition, "This will generate stronger margins and provide a healthy uplift to ERA Indonesia's reported net profit of 4.6 billion rupiahs in FY17."

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