Suzhou park developers team up
South China Morning Post July 3, 1999
BARRY PORTER in Singapore
A GROUP of Singapore property developers has chosen an unusual partner with which to invest in a property venture inside the mainland's Suzhou Industrial Park - the troubled project's rival.
The Singapore consortium, led by Wing Tai Holdings, will join hands with the developer of the Suzhou New District industrial park to invest 100 million yuan (about HK$93.2 million) in a 50-50 venture.
The news comes after talks this week between Singapore and Suzhou's municipal government, where it was agreed the Sino-Singaporean park scheme would receive priority status during the next two years.
Speaking at a signing ceremony, Wing Tai chairman Cheung Wai Keung said this reflected the provincial government's renewed commitment to the park's success.
"All old issues have been resolved after signing the memorandum of understanding," Mr Cheung said.
"This is expressed in the government's move to encourage Suzhou New District Economic Development Group to invest in the development of Suzhou Industrial Park," he said.
Wing Tai's Singaporean partners will be Keppel Land, Temasek Holdings and Jurong Town Corp International, which are all government-linked.
With Suzhou New District, they will co-develop 538,000 square feet of housing and shops in the park during the next two years.
Meanwhile, the Suzhou municipal government will strive to boost the park's population from 5000 to 20,000.
The US$30 billion industrial park was initiated in 1994, with the intention of building a modern, industrial city over 20 years covering 70 square kilometres.
Singapore was supposed to spearhead its development. But the republic this week announced it would cede control in 2001 after completing the first phase, frustrated it had not received the support Beijing pledged.
Rather than push the park, the Suzhou municipal government backed a rival cut-price industrial park of its own, Suzhou New District - much to Singapore's frustration.
To partly make amends and encourage Singapore to complete the first phase, Suzhou has pledged to place priority on the industrial park during the next two years as Beijing originally intended.
The property joint venture is the first concrete example of that pledge.
Published in the South China Morning Post. July 3, 1999.