Global Logistic Properties Confident in China, Plans to Invest Up To $500M Annually

While the Chinese economy has not escaped the effects of the global economic turmoil of late, at least one firm is confident enough in the nation’s industrial real estate market to commit to a significant investment outlay there in the coming years. After selling off its China operations to GIC Real Estate earlier this year, Global Logistic Properties plans to invest $300 million to $500 million annually in China in the next few years, its president said on Tuesday. Global Logistic was formerly the Asia operation  arms of industrial REIT Prologis. It was sold last December to GIC Real Estate–the investment arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.–as part of a $1.3 billion deal. The firm recently gave another vote of confidence to China, when it took on a more than 50 percent interest in the 676,000 square meters of industrial portfolio totaling RMB 1.5 billion from Genway Group, a real estate developer in Jiangsu Province. The firm characterized the investment is “a major vote of confidence in China’s bright future in the world’s logistic industry.” The facilities currently serve multinational customers such as Philips, Panasonic, Samsung, AMD and Schneider. Global Logistics is Asia’s largest industrial and logistics infrastructure provider with billions of U.S. dollars worth of assets under management in 26 markets in the region. In China, GLP’s portfolio includes 3.29 million square meters at the end of January with some of that still under construction. Though the Chinese economy has been stung by the global economic downturn, there is evidence that things may be looking up in the nation’s industrial sector. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index–and early inicator of activity in China’s manufacturing sector–rebounded to 45.3 percent in January, up from 41.2 percent in the previous month.Despite this, there does remain cause for concern. According to a Feb 10 CPN report, the impact of U.S. retail contraction extends all the way back to the factories of East Asia. Power consumption in China–one of the better yardsticks of economic activity in that country, where GDP reports need to be taken liberally with salt–grew 5.23 percent in 2008, which was about 9.5 percentage points lower than a year ago, according to a report by the China Electricity Council. It might have been growth, but it was the slowest growth in about a decade, hearkening back to the doldrums of the Asian currency crisis.