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Singapore offers inspiration to Asia

Singapore leads the way in Asia Reits, followed by Japan and Hong Kong. Other countries are trying to take the same course, but with varying degrees of success. Chris Wright reports.

Michael Smith, Goldman Sachs

"Singapore’s done it better than anywhere else in terms of putting the full gamut together: listing rules, regulatory framework, but more importantly the tax treatment"

Michael Smith, Goldman Sachs

THE ASIAN REAL estate investment trust (Reit) market already has its clear front runners: Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. But they’re not the whole story. Several other Asian countries have Reit markets in varying states of development, and others should join them in time. For all the fanfare of Hong Kong’s entry into the listed real estate world, when CBRE Research surveyed the region at the end of 2006, there were twice as many Reits in South Korea as in Hong Kong. The same was true in Malaysia, Thailand and (almost) Taiwan. The difference, though, is market capitalization: the 32 Reits of those four markets combined are worth far less than the four Reits that had made it to the public markets in Hong Kong by then.

Bankers in Asia say all these markets have to measure themselves against the benchmark set by Singapore.

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