U.S. developer wins record $2.2 billion land sale in China's Qianhai zone

HONG KONG Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:05am EST

A man rides past a landmark consisting of a rock with the word ''Qianhai'' on it, at the Qianhai special economic zone in Shenzhen August 16, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

A man rides past a landmark consisting of a rock with the word ''Qianhai'' on it, at the Qianhai special economic zone in Shenzhen August 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - U.S. developer Silverstein Properties and a Chinese partner bid a record 13.4 billion yuan ($2.21 billion) to win a land sale in a pilot economic zone in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, to become the first overseas developer in the fledgling project.

Silverstein Properties and its mainland Chinese partner Qianhai International Energy Financial Center bought the large plot in Qianhai Bay for commercial use on Thursday, according to Shenzhen's land authority.

Despite being touted as a "mini-Hong Kong" financial and yuan hub, Qianhai had so far struggled to attract interest from Hong Kong and overseas property developers in a series of land auctions. <ID:L4N0GF33H>

This latest bid, however, is the most expensive plot of land ever sold in the booming southern Chinese city of Shenzhen - a high-tech, manufacturing and services hub - smashing the previous 7.18 billion yuan land sale record for another Qianhai land plot in July last year by mainland Chinese Developer Excellence Real Estate Group Ltd.

Qianhai authorities weren't immediately available for comment.

Focused on finance, logistics and IT services, the Qianhai Bay economic zone, an hour by car from Hong Kong, hopes to draw on the financial centre's expertise as a hub for the renminbi, or offshore yuan, as it seeks to provide the same services in renminbi, bond and equity offerings, insurance products and trade settlement.

New York-based Silverstein Properties, developer for the World Trade Center in New York, has joint ventures in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. ($1 = 6.0517 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting By Alice Woodhouse and Yimou Lee; Editing by James Pomfret and Jeremy Laurence)

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