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Credit crunch gives Asian property markets added sheen

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, April 15 - 2008 @ 13:49

Ms. Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education, said that, in relative terms, Asian real estate is now even more attractive due to the credit crunch currently prevalent in the US and parts of Western Europe. Fu’s comments were made during the opening ceremony of Cityscape Asia 2008, the world’s largest B2B real estate brand, which opened yesterday (Tuesday15 April) at the Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore.

To illustrate the point, guest of honour Fu, announced that Singapore’s flagship development, Marina Bay alone had attracted over US$12 billion in FDI last year, despite sub prime woes and the ensuing credit crunch affecting the western markets. More specifically, Fu highlighted the performance of the financial services sector as a key economic driver which grew by 16.9% in 2007, outperforming economic growth of 7.7% last year.

“The financial services sector now represents 12% of Singapore’s GDP with total assets of $1.4 trillion. This has prompted the Singapore Government to embark on an ambitious 15 year project to double the size of the existing financial district. Put into perspective, the area once completed, will be twice that of Canary Wharf in London,” said Fu.

Going beyond investment and development, Fu added that sustainable growth with an environmental conscience was also high on the government agenda. “Striking a balance between the environment and development was of vital importance,” she said.

In total 100 hectares of prime city centre land is to be given over for additional green space, and a new public-private initiative, ‘Building Green’ has now been launched to raise awareness of environmental issues.

During his welcome speech, Peter Rigby, CEO of Informa PLC the parent company of Cityscape organisers IIR exhibitions, stated that Asia had some of the fastest growing markets in the world, highlighting Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, for which he said were testimony to investor confidence in the region. “Cityscape Asia is the perfect platform to bring investors and developers together from across the region and beyond and over 6,000 real estate professionals agree,” a clear reference to the number of participants attending the show.

Major Dubai-based property developers such as Union Properties and Limitless are on show in Singapore, as well as CityCenter, along with other industry professionals from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Brunei, Italy and the USA are amongst those participants.

Cityscape Asia, which runs until Thursday, 17 April 2008, is showcasing iconic architecture and real estate investment opportunities throughout the region and beyond to an audience of regional and international investors, real estate developers, architects and designers, governments and senior professionals.

Running concurrently with the exhibition is the International Property Investment and Development Conference which has gathered more than 50 speakers including CEOs, managing directors and government officials to examine the opportunities in Asia including real estate investment trusts, derivatives and an Asian investment property databank.

Delivering the opening keynote address, Cheong Koon Heau, CEO, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, focused on how urban planning has actually improved investment opportunities in Singapore. Also on the conference agenda, Vietnam, China and India were under the spotlight, with in-depth presentations on current investment and development trends.

Platinum sponsors of Cityscape Asia are CityCenter, the urban resort destination on The Strip in Las Vegas developed by MGM Mirage opening in November 2009; and Limitless, a Dubai World company, which is carrying out major projects in Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Russia as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Gold sponsors are Aseana Properties, a London Stock Exchange company focused on property development in Malaysia and Vietnam.

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Tuesday, April 15- 2008 @ 13:49 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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