Chinese conglomerate Wanda has pulled out of a £470m (€513m) investment in a London development site at a time of heightened restrictions by Chinese regulators.
UK listed developer St Modwen announced on Monday that it had completed the sale of Nine Elms Square, but it has since transpired that Wanda had transferred its ownership to other investors.
Reports suggest that fellow Chinese developers R&F Properties and CC Land have taken on the interest in the 10-acre, mixed-use development project.
Earlier this month, Wanda revealed it was restructuring the ownership of its global hotels business.
The moves by Wanda have been attributed to increasing restrictions on Chinese companies by regulatory authorities to stem outbound investment.
Last week, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued formal guidelines that include greater restrictions on overseas real estate investments.
The guidelines also ban investments in industries related to gambling and restrict investments in film and sports, while also encouraging investments that support China’s so-called ‘belt and road’ initiative.
They follow an earlier regulatory clampdown on overseas investments at the end of 2016, which was in part designed to stabilise China’s currency.
Ministry of Commerce data show that overseas direct real estate investments fell by 82% year on year in the first half of 2017.
However, CBRE said investment restrictions were having a “nuanced” effect on real estate investments.
Research by the real estate consultancy shows that while overseas property acquisitions by state-owned Chinese companies was down year on year by 66% in the first half of the year, they were up among private investors and sovereign wealth funds.
There have been two major takeovers in the real estate sector, involving Chinese investors. Last month, IPE Real Estate reported that Global Logistic Properties was being acquired by a Chinese consortium, and in June Blackstone confirmed it was selling its European logistics arm Logicor to China Investment Corporation for €12.25bn.
CBRE said the new restrictions would encourage Chinese investors to take new approaches for overseas real estate investments, including using offshore financial institutions and Hong Kong-based entities.
They might also look to invest in belt-and-road countries, take positions as limited partners in real estate funds, focus on smaller investments and entering into joint ventures, CBRE said.