SM Development Corp. (SMDC), the residential property unit of SM Prime Holdings Inc., is on the prowl for opportunities to put up projects in the Asean region, in line with a plan to expand overseas, a company official said.
In a recent interview, SMDC Executive Vice President Jose Mari Banzon told reporters the company is exploring business possibility, particularly in China and the Asean region.
“We’re looking around China. We’d like to explore other Asean countries. But, right now, it’s still China,” Banzon said.
The 10-member Asean bloc counts Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as members.
Apart from property development in the Philippines, SMDC has a seven-tower residential project in Chengdu, China which broke ground in 2016.
SMDC is pre-selling Chengdu units in April or May this year, when the construction of the first two towers hit ground level.
Banzon noted SMDC has received “marching orders” to explore outside China and the Philippines. “Very preliminary so I really can’t say, but other Asian or Asean countries.”
The intention, really, is to expand and grow outside of the Philippines with a view to establishing footprints in other market economies, instead of the Asean integration, he said.
“We’ve been very successful here, we want to do the same in other countries with the same demographics and profile —buyer profile,” Banzon said.
The ventures will likely be in the form of partnerships with local companies in their respective countries. “Most likely, when you go overseas, you’d like to work with people who are locals as it’s difficult to do it on your own,” Banzon explained.
In the case of the Chengdu project, he said that parent SM Prime has a grasp of the China market since it has seven SM malls China, with a combined gross floor area (GFA) of 1.5 million square meters.
Its malls in China include SM City Xiamen, SM City Jinjiang, SM City Chengdu, SM City Suzhou, SM City Chongqing, SM City Zibo and SM City Tianjin, which opened in December.
“But in other countries, most likely in partnership with locals. But then again, it’s too soon to say,” Banzon said.