With China’s real estate sector in a slump, a number of wealthy Chinese are looking to Malaysia for bargains.  

At the height of China’s real estate boom in 2009, Qiu Liping turned to Malaysia’s moderate housing market by investing three million yuan for the purchase of an apartment close to Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers.  
“I had doubts about my first property investment in Malaysia at the time but I was even more doubtful about China’s relentless housing prices after years of skyrocketing increases,” recalled Qiu, a 45-year-old Shanghai resident.

Prior to the purchase and before the central government’s clampdown on property speculation, she had acquired properties in Shanghai, western Chongqing and Sanya in Hainan province.

“I was considering investing in Australia but after careful and prudent selection, I chose Malaysia, which is closer to China and more importantly, (where) people speak Chinese. So I’m planning to live there when I retire,” said Qiu, who invested over 11 million yuan in two more apartments in Malaysia’s capital in 2010, following a forecast that her investment would likely generate a return of 15 percent by this year.  
“This year, we have clients with more than 10 million yuan each to invest in Malaysian properties. That’s never happened before,” said Sophia Xia, Managing Director of Shanghai’s Super City Group, a real estate brokerage.

Aside from China’s stringent housing curbs, Chinese investors also venture into Malaysia due to the “high risk” areas for investment in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Malaysia’s foreigner-friendly “My Second Home” Programme, the ringgit’s strengthening against the US dollar and the prediction that the Malaysian property market will appraise as high as 20 percent.

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