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Soros Plans China, Hong Kong Property Fund, 21st Century Says

Billionaire investor George Soros is planning a property fund to invest in real estate projects in China and Hong Kong, 21st Century Business Herald reported.

Soros Fund Management LLC’s Hong Kong subsidiary SFM HK Management Ltd. started planning the real estate fund early this year, and Soros is meeting developers and agents in Hong Kong, the newspaper said today, without saying where it got the information. The fund’s clients include tycoons in China and Hong Kong, it said.

Some foreign investors are seeking opportunities in China’s slowing property market. CBRE Global Investors, manager of $94.8 billion of real estate assets, said yesterday it may make its first investment in the nation’s housing market in four years in anticipation the government will start easing its property curbs.

Soros’s fund may be a vehicle to finance Chinese developers, 21st Century said. Michael Vachon, a New York-based spokesman for Soros Fund Management and Hong Kong-based fund manager Dai Jixin of SFM HK Management declined to comment on the report.

The credit outlook of China’s real estate companies will become “increasingly severe” amid government efforts to curb rising home prices, Standard & Poor’s said in a report on Sept. 27. China this year raised the down-payment requirements and mortgage rates on some homes and imposed housing purchase restrictions in about 40 cities to help curb inflation and make housing more affordable.

China’s home prices retreated for a second month in October, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest real estate website. In Hong Kong, home prices slid to the lowest in more than six months last week as the threat of an economic recession continues to dent buyer sentiment, Centaline Property Agency Ltd., the city’s biggest privately held realtor, said on Nov. 11.

Soros’s firm, which is based in New York and oversees about $25 billion in assets, held about $4.9 billion in stocks at the end of the quarter, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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