UPDATE 1-Billionaire Zell: Brazil is top real estate pick

Mon Apr 28, 2008 6:13pm EDT

(Adds quote on China's one-child policy, background)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 28 (Reuters) - Billionaire real estate and media baron Sam Zell said on Monday that, all in all, he would rather invest in Brazil.

"I'd buy Brazil," Zell told the Milken Institute Global Conference. "It has the chance 30 years from now of being a bigger economic power than China."

Zell, chief executive of Chicago Tribune parent, The Tribune Co, and chairman and president of Equity Group Investments LLC, was responding to a moderator's question on what single investment panelists would make in real estate.

Zell said the South American nation's large population of 180 million people, highly-trained work force, and array of crops and natural resources has made it largely self-sufficient.

Zell also said Brazil's biggest mall operator was seeing retail sales growth of 10 percent annually.

Zell said China's one-child policy, enacted in 1979 to help deal with overpopulation, would hurt the country in the long run because it will cut the number of workers. "I think by 2020 that will come back to bite them big time," he said.

Last fall, China extended the one-child policy through 2010. (Reporting by Bernard Woodall and Nichola Groom; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Toni Reinhold)

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