Wednesday 16th April 2014
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Fu Wah International Group, chaired by Chan Laiwa who is one of China's richest women, has agreed to build a new Auckland waterfront hotel worth $200 million in partnership with Waterfront Auckland, a council body.
Fu Wah, a Beijing-based real estate developer, will build a 200 room, five star hotel in the Wynyard Quarter on Auckland Council-owned land, the city said in a statement. The development is awaiting approval from the Overseas Investment Office and would be completed by 2017.
"This deal is a direct result of Waterfront Auckland's involvement on the Mayoral Trade Mission to China in 2012," Auckland mayor Len Brown said. "It's an exemplar of the potential for council leveraging its strategic landholdings to attract investment into Auckland and to develop infrastructure that will attract further and ongoing benefits to the local economy while still retaining ownership."
Auckland Council wants to attract wealthy Chinese tourists to the city. More than 237,000 Chinese visited New Zealand in the past year, with total spending of about $732 million, according to Tourism New Zealand.
Fu Wah's Laiwa is worth US$6.4 billion according to Forbes. She is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body, according to the company's website. The developer says it has 1.5 million square metres of Beijing properties as well as other developments across China including cultural interests such as museums.
According to its website, "Fu Wah has won wide acclaim by virtue of its powerful financial strength, utmost good faith and sincere patriotic enthusiasm."
Earlier this year the Chinese developer bought the Melbourne Park Hyatt Hotel, reportedly for A$135 million.
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