Bond link aims to spur foreign inflows through Hong Kong

New Hong Kong-China bond trade link widens foreign access

New Hong Kong-China bond trade link widens foreign access

The company, which also has investments in at least 14 mainland Chinese cities, does not have its own flagship skyscraper in Hong Kong and analysts expect it to move its headquarters to this new location upon completion.

Henderson's purchase of the first commercial site to go on sale in Central since 1996 not only set records as the biggest ticket property transactions in the city to date, but with the project on Murray Road approved for development of up to 465,000 square feet (43,199 square metres) by gross floor area, also sets a new high price of HK$50,064 per square foot.

The 2,880-square-meter plot in Central was sold off by the government to Henderson Land, owned by the city's second-richest man, Lee Shau-kee.

The site, at Murray Road, is now a public vehicle park squeezed between Cheung Kong Center and Hutchison House, two major flagship buildings owned by the city's richest man Li Ka-shing.

"The company is optimistic of the long-term prospect of this investment".

Henderson Land will finance the acquisition through its internal resources and bank funding, and plans to complete an office building, with some retail facilities, by 2022, the company said in a statement.

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"This transaction sends a very positive sign to office prices in Central [district]", said Antonio Wu, the deputy managing director of the property consultancy Colliers International Hong Kong.

The price tag - which works out at around $1 million per square metre - for the rare plot of land in Hong Kong's bustling Central district can partly be explained by fierce competition for premium space, said Jackson Wong, of Huarong International Securities. European and United States financial firms, trying to cut costs, reduced their presence in the three-year period to March 2016, according to property consultancy CBRE.

Their Chinese counterparts increased their office space in the same district by 633,000 square foot, taking up 73 per cent of the total banking and financial sector space expansion in the area.

A spokesperson of the HKMA said, "As Asia's premier asset management and risk management centre, Hong Kong has always been the gateway for worldwide asset managers and owners to invest in the Mainland and manage the attendant risks".

In the results of another Hong Kong land auction announced yesterday, a joint venture between mainland developers KWG and Longfor Properties beat out 15 other entrants to win a residential site in Kai Tak with a bid of HK$7.23 billion. Another is the challenge of taking any gains out of the country, given tight capital controls.

The new program will "reinforce and improve Hong Kong's role as an global financial center, help China's financial opening up and contribute to Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability", said the statement.

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