Goodbye Wanda, Hello Yuhu

Goodbye Wanda, Hello Yuhu

2 February 2018

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda is exiting Australia after offloading its landmark One Circular Quay project in Sydney and three-tower Jewel development in Surfers Paradise to Yuhu-linked AWH Investment Group Pty Ltd in a firesale deal worth $1.13 billion, reports The Age.

Wanda told the stock market in Hong Kong that the deal comprised a cash component of $315 million and the assumption of the debt on the project owed to Dalian Wanda of $815 million.

The luxury Australian projects were once valued at $1 billion each, but Wanda was under pressure from the Chinese government to swiftly reduce its overseas debt.

The sale ends Wanda’s presence in Australian real estate after just three years.

The AFR reports that Dalian Wanda’s footprint in Australia was set to grow until the Chinese government called time on the group’s debt-laden overseas investments.

Under pressure from Beijing, the group also sold its interests in one of the largest luxury residential projects under development in London, the One Nine Elms project on the south bank of the River Thames for about £59 million ($102 million) two weeks ago.

The little-known AWH is part-controlled by a company called Cloudstone Capital, which was created two weeks ago and is owned by a single shareholder—23-year-old (Jimmy) Huang Jiquan, the son of Huang Xiangmo, the founder of Yuhu Group, says The Australian.

The private company shares a North Sydney address with Yuhu Group.

Huang Xiangmo ceased to be a shareholder of AWH a fortnight ago after sealing the Australian deal with Dalian Wanda’s Wang Jialin in Hong Kong on 18 January.

Yuhu was linked to a Chinese donations scandal that engulfed the federal Labor Party last year.

Labour Senator Sam Dastyari recently resigned from federal parliament after making comments supporting China’s stance in the South China Sea dispute, receiving political donations from Yuhu, and having Mr Huang pay about $5,000 of his legal bills.

By handing the reins to his 23-year-old son, Jimmy, Huang Xiangmo, whose application for Australian citizenship has stalled, appears to be stepping into the background after coming under scrutiny from ASIO amid the political donations and foreign influence controversy.

Jimmy Huang lives in Sydney and is an Australian citizen.

Yuhu is an emerging force on the Australian property sector.

Last July, Yuhu lifted its portfolio in Australia to more than $700m after buying the Bakehouse Quarter in Sydney’s inner west in a deal worth $380m, with the site slated to accommodate more than 1000 apartments.

The Yuhu Group also has significant investments in Australian agriculture and seafood industries.

Yuhu chief executive Nick Tobin told The Australian the purchase and construction of the One Circular Quay and Jewel Surfers Paradise projects would represent about $2.3 billion of investment on completion within a few years.