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Beijing (AFP) April 10, 2014
A company led by top Hong Kong businessman Richard Li said it has sold a landmark Beijing property for more than $900 million, fuelling speculation about the motive for Chinese property sales by his family.
Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD) -- a firm chaired by Li, the younger son of Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing -- signed an agreement Tuesday to sell Pacific Century Place for $928 million, the firm said in a statement filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange.
The deal is nearly 30 percent lower than the asking price reported last year for the well-located Beijing property, made up of two office towers, two serviced apartment blocks and a shopping mall, China's Dongfang Daily newspaper said Thursday.
The son and father act separately in their business operations.
But the deal is the fourth Chinese property disposal by entities associated with the Li family since August, the paper said, adding that the sales have fetched a total of nearly 18 billion yuan ($2.9 billion).
"Li Ka-shing's investment strategy since the 1970s shows that he will always sell his assets two to three years ahead of crises to reallocate (the resources)," the newspaper quoted an unnamed industry insider as saying.
The 85-year-old Li Ka-shing's firms have already sold properties in major Chinese cities including Guangzhou in the south and the financial hub of Shanghai.
Speculation that the Hong Kong-based billionaire was pulling out of China mounted so high that he met the press for 90 minutes in late February to emphasise his confidence in the country's property market and its slowing but still strong economic growth.
Separately, PCPD stressed its commitment in China.
PCPD said in a statement it would continue to invest in China "as its key priority as it is committed to building its presence in Asia".
China's economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013, the same as in 2012 -- which was the slowest rate of expansion since 1999.
The world's second-largest economy has shown signs of weakness recently with a string of disappointing indicators, including on trade, industrial production and consumer spending.
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