Fujian buyers cast wider net in Singapore property market

The office unit at The Central being bought by an entity controlled by Wang Kuncheng occupies half of the 22nd floor in a V-shaped office tower that rises upto 25 storeys. 

Updated from : The Business Times, 11 Feb 2021

BUYERS from China’s Fujian province continue to be drawn to Singapore property as they widen their interests in the asset class – the latest being an office unit at The Central above Clarke Quay MRT station.

The unit, which has an area of 13,336 square feet (sq ft), is being sold by the project’s developer Far East Organization for S$41.74 million, reflecting S$3,130 per square foot (psf). The unit occupies half of the 22nd floor in a V-shaped office tower that rises up to 25 storeys.

The buyer is a Singapore-incorporated vehicle owned by Wang Kuncheng, a Chinese citizen understood to be from Xiamen city in Fujian province. Talk in the market is that the acquisition is being made without any borrowings, and that the unit is currently tenanted.

Mr Wang did not respond to queries from The Business Times by press time. According to data portal Handshakes, Mr Wang is a director of three Singapore-incorporated companies:

V V Technology, Global Frontier Asset Management and Global Frontier Family Office. All three list a unit in Asia Square Tower 2 as their address.

On its website, V V Technology said that it is focused on developing and deploying V V LIFE, a personal concierge platform providing lifestyle services, including retail, food, travel and local services. It aims to “establish a strong foothold in South-east Asia”.

V V Technology has 79 employee profiles listed on LinkedIn, with about 25 based in Singapore and the remainder in China, including from Xiamen and Beijing.

The office space at The Central being bought by Mr Wang is one of just four strata office units of 13,336 sq ft in the development.

Far East in 2019 sold the other three such units – on Levels 23, 24 and 25 – at S$3,080 psf, S$3,150 psf and S$3,200 psf respectively.

The remaining office units in the development are smaller and include loft units.

Far East developed the retail-and-office project on a site with 99-year leasehold tenure that started in January 2001, leaving a balance lease term of about 79 years.

On the website of Mr Wang’s V V Technology is a post dated Jan 6 this year announcing the launch of a new talent programme called V V Galaxy, for both internal employees and external applicants.

There will be more than 500 available positions under the programme, of which 200 are newly created, the company said.

They include entry to senior management roles in business management and technology.

Going by regulatory filings, V V Technology did not record any revenue for FY2019 ended December while posting a net loss of S$5.1 million, mainly due to administrative expenses.

It recorded S$565,000 in revenue and a S$1.3 million net loss the previous year.

V V Technology’s sole shareholder is Global Frontier Asset Management, which has a paid-up capital of S$56.8 million and is wholly owned by an entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), called WKC Holding.

On its website, Global Frontier Asset Management said that it is fully owned by its founder, Mr Wang, and deals with equities, fixed income and multi-assets private equity.

It said that it invests in South-east Asian mobile and internet startups, in sectors including e-commerce, marketplaces and software as a service.

The BVI entity WKC Holding also owns Global Frontier Family Office – formerly named WKC Family Office – which has a paid-up capital of S$500,000.

In November last year, V V Technology was issued a Singapore travel agent licence, which allows it to provide air ticketing, tours, accommodation and visa services, according to the Singapore Tourism Board’s travel agent directory.

Property buyers from Xiamen and other parts of Fujian began arriving here around 2017, initially snapping up high-end condominium units from developers in the island’s prime areas, said industry observers.

A couple of years ago, they began acquiring villas in Sentosa Cove – the only place in Singapore where a foreigner who is not a Singapore permanent resident (PR) may buy a landed home, albeit subject to government approval.

The Fujianese have also spread their wings to the conservation shophouse market, acquiring properties in locales such as Chinatown and Amoy Street, and, more recently, to the strata office market. Some are also said to be eyeing hotels.

These Fujian buyers are typically in their late 20s and 30s. Most are not Singapore PRs at the point of acquiring the properties. For those buying residential properties, this means they would have paid 20 per cent in additional buyer’s stamp duty on top of the standard buyer’s stamp duty of up to 4 per cent.

Some of these Fujianese have started to settle with their families in Singapore, and have also invested in existing businesses here and set up their own enterprises in a range of fields including management consultancy services, accounting services, information technology (IT), fintech, and food and beverage.