Major Chinese developer Dalian Wanda has said its expansion into the UK will “significantly contribute” towards it becoming a $100bn [£61.88bn] company by 2020.
Speaking to Construction News, Dalian Wanda deputy general manager Michael Purefoy said group chairman Wang Jianlin believed the company could only substantially grow through overseas expansion.
Dalian Wanda has turnover of around $30bn [£18.6bn], which the developer wants to increase to $100bn over the next six years.
“Right now our existing commitments are London, Madrid, Gold Coast in Australia, Chicago and LA and we’re still looking to establish a broader international base, so we’re always looking at new opportunities in any significant market,” Mr Purefoy said.
The company’s expansion in the UK would not be solely in London, Mr Purefoy added, although he was unable to highlight specific cities across the country that were of interest.
He said Dalian Wanda’s strategy would focus on developing schemes rather than selling and acquiring projects.
He added: “We certainly have ambitions to rival developers on the global level, so by doing that I think it’s natural that we would also look to be competitive against other developers in any individual market too.”
The company’s £400m One Nine Elms scheme, being developed by subsidiary Wanda One, is its first in the UK market, based in central London, which Construction News revealed this month had shortlisted four UK contractors to potentially build the project.
Construction News also revealed Mace had been approached by Chinese contractor China State Engineering Group, looking to enter the UK market through a 50/50 joint venture.
Asked whether Dalian Wanda would prefer a JV that involved a Chinese contractor, Mr Purefoy said: “We will look at anything that will ensure we will be able to deliver the quality we need to deliver in the marketplace.”
He said the group needed to go through a “process of education” to understand the characteristics of the local marketplace.
“But I think that’s natural for any first-time investor in a new market and we get around that by ensuring we get a solid core of locally experienced people within the project company.”
Planning has been granted for the developer’s One Nine Elms scheme, which will see the construction of two towers measuring 200 m and 160 m.
These will include 439 private residential units, 52 affordable homes and a 187-room, five-star hotel, the first to be built by Dalian Wanda in the UK.
Mr Purefoy said future projects from the company would all “share similar characteristics” and have a residential and hotel element.
“We hope [future projects] will have a hotel aspect because we have a dual goal of building a brand both on the residential side but also the hotel ownership and management side.”
Dalian Wanda will also manage its hotels by creating a management company, which it will roll out as part of the Wanda brand.
The deputy general manager said that Dalian Wanda would also not rule out expanding into the private rented sector. However he said the team was in the early stages of developing overseas, so it was not at the forefront of its strategy at present.