Showcase whets China's farmland appetite

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The Land| 30 June 2015

Chinese investors have snapped up a number of Australian agricultural holdings this year across a range of rural sectors.
Showcase whets China's farmland appetite

With China's appetite for Australian farmland showing no signs of being sated, some of the country's best agricultural investment opportunities will be showcased in China next month.

Hot on the heels of Australia signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with China earlier this month, Landmark Harcourts will host the Connect with Australia – China Property Showcase 2015 in China in August.

In a statement, Landmark Harcourts said the event would provide the platform to connect Australian producers of beef, dairy, cropping and horticulture with Chinese investors in a bid to add value across the supply chain.

Landmark Harcourts chief executive officer Mark Brooke said investment opportunities could include either joint venture partnerships with Australian farmers, or ownership of large scale ongoing operations that are suited to farm expansion and development.

“China continues to be Australia’s largest export market for Australian agricultural products – it makes sense to open doors for Australian farmers to foster relationships that will provide real investment opportunities,” Mr Brooke said.

“Our mission in 2015 is to showcase large-scale agri-investment opportunities from regional Australia to assist the sector expand its production base and capitalise on emerging market opportunities – the showcase will help us achieve this.”

Chinese investors have snapped up a number of Australian agricultural holdings this year across a range of rural sectors.

One of China's top 500 companies, Hailiang Group, purchased cattle and cropping properties in southern Queensland, Hollymount Station and Mount Driven, for about $40 million.

In May, the 310-hectare Gippsland dairy farm, Notman's Dairy, Poowong, sold to Chinese investors for more than $8 million.

And one of China's largest beef producers, Chongqing Hondo Agriculture Group, has confirmed it is looking to buy up to $100 million worth of cattle stations in Australia within the next year.

In April, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) annual report confirmed China has become Australia's biggest source of approved foreign investment for the first time after a $12.4 billion splurge on real estate in the last financial year.

Chinese investors planned to spend $27.7b here, according to the report, overtaking United States investors who were approved to spend $17.5b.

Investments in real estate accounted for almost half China's total, with its $12.4b approved investment more than twice the amount spent by the Americans on real estate.

Original source: The Land
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