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Chinese property projects changing Iskandar landscape

Reporter: Rian Maelzer 丨 CCTV.com

11-14-2016 14:57 BJT

Three of China’s biggest property developers are changing the face of the southern Malaysian state of Johor, just across a narrow strait from Singapore. R & F, Greenland and above all, Country Garden, are undertaking ambitious residential and commercial projects in the fast growing Iskandar economic region. Initial skepticism that the developers could actually pull off their grand plans is giving way to enthusiasm from investors, locals and the Malaysian government as the projects rapidly take shape. Rian Maelzer reports from southern Malaysia.

Within a year of reclamation work starting, this hotel on the emerging artificial island had already opened its doors. Forest City is a joint venture between Guangdong’s Country Garden, and the sultan of Johor state. The plan is to create four artificial islands spanning 20 square kilometres over the next 20 years.

Chief strategy officer of Country Garden Pacificview said, “When I first came to Johor, the Forest City project was a piece of water back at that time, we definitely can see a lot of suspicion on the feasibility of this mega project. We use our delivery to prove that Forest City is not a dream. It is actually very tangible.”

In the state capital, Johor Bahru, Country Garden is creating another city within a city. He said, “Never before has Malaysia seen a cluster of high rise development on this scale taking place at one time -- not in the capital Kuala Lumpur, let alone the southern state of Johor.”

The Danga Bay project is already 80 percent sold, with most buyers coming from China and Singapore. Forest City is also attracting foreign interest.

The Iskandar economic region, with its new industry, universities and amusement parks, is expected to double its population by 2025, easing concerns of a possible property glut.

Chief executive of Iskandar regional development anthority, Ismail Ibrahim, said, “Rapid economic development translates to mean that we would create more jobs and more people would be coming in seeking for opportunities not only for business but also for employment. Definitely, this in turn would create demand for housing.”

The developers say Forest City will generate 10s of billions of dollars of economic activity and create some 220,000 jobs, hugely benefitting the local economy and not just the well-to-do people who will buy there.

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