Developers From China Are Hoping To Transform Johor Bahru Into The Next Shenzhen

The latest project in Iskandar Malaysia, Forest City, will cost around RM442 billion to build.

Cover image via Bloomberg

The influx of Chinese competition in the region is affecting local property developers in major ways

Image via Bloomberg

Profits for local companies like UEM Sunrise Bhd., Sunway Bhd. and SP Setia Bhd have slumped over the years.

It has been reported that UEM's profit has dropped 58 percent while other companies have offered discounts up to 20 percent in a desperate bid to accelerate sales.

While it's bad news for local developers, the Chinese are betting on Johor Bahru to be the next Shenzhen - a fishing village that transformed into a bustling city in three decades

Image via Bloomberg

“The Chinese developers see this as an opportunity. A lot of them say Iskandar is just like Shenzhen was 10 years ago," said Jonathan Lo, manager of valuations at CH Williams Talhar & Wong, a property broker based in Johor Bahru. “

According to a report by business news site Bloomberg, a Chinese property developer is in the midst of creating a 'city' in Johor Bahru

Image via Bloomberg

The man-made city will be located on reclaimed land facing Singapore up north. The massive project - which will cost around USD100 billion (RM442 billion) to build - is under Country Garden, a Chinese property development company.

When completed, the property Forest City will sit on four artificial islands that will reportedly house 700,000 people

Forest City will be located in a reclaimed land just outside the border of Singapore.

Image via Bloomberg

The city will have office towers, parks, hotels, shopping malls and an international school, all draped with greenery. Construction began in February and about 8,000 apartments have been sold, the company said.

Bloomberg has also stated that Forest City is the biggest out of the ongoing 60 projects in the Iskandar Malaysia zone

The Forest City project will span over four artificial islands.

Image via Bloomberg

Iskandar Malaysia, formerly known as Iskandar Development Region (IDR), is the main southern development corridor. It is a mixed development project in an area three times the size of Singapore, aiming to escalate the growth of the region in various sectors including property, education, and transportation.

The development of Iskandar Malaysia began in 2006.

Back in 2013, Country Garden - which is in partnership with the Johor state - launched the waterfront project called Danga Bay

Image via Cadiz

Danga Bay is located near to the Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence for the Sultan of Johor. The area possesses high-end retail outlets and fine dines restaurants and it is considered as the biggest recreation park in Johor Bahru.

All apartments in the area have already sold out.

Aside from Country Garden, other Chinese-owned property companies like Greenland Group and R&F Properties have also started building properties in Johor Bahru

China state-owned Greenland Group is building office towers, apartments and shops on 128 acres in Tebrau, about 20 minutes from the city centre.

Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. has begun construction on the first phase of Princess Cove, with about 3,000 homes.

Meanwhile, The Guardian has uncovered disturbing details about migrant workers in the electronic industry in Malaysia:

You may be interested in: