January 11, 2018 / 9:39 AM / 2 years ago

Thai Sansiri eyes sharp rise in sales to Chinese investors despite capital curbs

HONG KONG, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Thai property developer Sansiri Pcl said China’s capital controls have not impacted its business and is eyeing a rise of as much as 70 percent in sales to Chinese investors in 2018. The developer has set an overseas sales target of 12.5 billion baht ($390.26 million) for the new year, up 58 percent from its 2017 figure, with Chinese sales expected to account for 40 percent and Hong Kong 30 percent.

Sales to Chinese buyers stood at around HK$820 million ($104.80 million) in 2017, a 30 percent growth from the previous year. For 2018, Sansiri is targeting sales of HK$1.4 billion.

“Our business has not been hit by China’s capital control. Many of our clients already have capital offshore, or maybe they meet the $50,000 quota,” Sansiri’s head of international business, Cobby Leathers, said at the opening of the company’s first sales gallery in Hong Kong, referring to the foreign exchange quota allowed for Chinese nationals.

With tighter capital controls imposed since 2016, Chinese overseas purchases have slowed down with many buyers struggling to close deals.

Leathers said around 95 percent of overseas buyers pay in cash, and Sansiri works with local and foreign banks to offer loans to buyers. All Chinese buyers pay in non-yuan currencies, he added.

Mainland Chinese are increasingly snapping up properties in Thailand for personal and investment purposes, after being priced out of their domestic market.

Sansiri currently has four sales offices in China, three of which were opened last year.

Hong Kong is expected to be the developer’s second largest market this year, contributing 30 percent of overseas sales of around HK$1.05 billion. Sales from the city rose 35 percent to HK$820 million last year.

Despite a surge in overseas interest, property prices in Thailand haven’t seen upward pressure unlike other destinations favoured by Chinese investors as the total number of foreign buyers is still only a small portion of the market, Sansiri president Srettha Thavisin said. ($1 = 32.0300 baht) ($1 = 7.8242 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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