Asia still a good bet: CPPIB

Follow the money – the big money. Canada’s biggest investors in real estate are still looking eastward despite the global economic tumult being laid at the feet of China.

Mark Wiseman, president and CEO of CPP Investment Board, Canada’s largest pension fund, said China’s recent stock slump has made the region more attractive to long-term investors, and could be the beginning of more deals in areas, including retail real estate.

“Lots of other investors are getting out of Asia—we’re steadfast,” he said. “I could foresee in the next decade, easily, the number of dollars invested in Asia Pacific (by CPPIB) quadrupling,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

CPPIB has been active recently, including a C$170 million investment in August into a joint venture with Malaysia’s Pavilion Group to develop a mixed-use luxury complex in Kuala Lumpur.

But finding deals in the region to invest in are still hard to come by, according to Wiseman.
Infrastructure and property deals in China have tended to attract cheap government finance, meaning there is little demand for foreign partners, he said.

Wiseman, however, remains optimistic about China’s growth prospects and with them, long-term growth for Southeast Asia and Australia.

“I think our outlook for China is quite positive. If you look at some of the short-term worries and machinations that people have had, we’re talking about an economy that is still growing at 7%,” he said.

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