Miyakoshi, first Japanese real estate firm in China hopes for comeback
When it comes to China, Kunimasa Miyakoshi has at least two claims to fame.
Some four decades ago, when he was only 37, the businessman led the first Japanese company to get a permit to do business in the country after World War II. And today, his Miyakoshi Holdings Inc. is the only stock in Japan’s benchmark Topix index that generates 100 percent of sales from China.
Miyakoshi, once an electronics manufacturer, has changed course to become a real estate developer, and it’s about to take the next step in its long relationship with the communist country. The company is working to cement a $1.1 billion deal, Miyakoshi says, that will grant it the rights to build office towers — which it calls innovation centers — in the technology hub Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.
While Japan and China have had a fraught diplomatic relationship, business ties run deep. China was Japan’s largest trading partner in 2018, taking in about $142 billion worth of exports.
Miyakoshi is betting that his plans to build at least four skyscrapers and bring in hundreds of medical and health care technology companies from Japan and other countries to the southern Chinese city will get full backing from the local authorities. The Shenzhen government has outlined its ambitions to develop the city under a plan that stretches to 2035.
The project will have four stages. Most of the money for the first stage will come from the company and its affiliates’ existing capital, according to the businessman. The company is hoping to generate tens of millions of dollars in rent revenue once construction of the first building is completed, which is scheduled for 2021. It’s also considering investing in tenant companies.
By the end of this month, the company plans to gather a group of about 35 Japanese firms that are interested in setting up shop in Shenzhen, Miyakoshi said. The company will seek a construction permit from the Shenzhen government this summer, he said. Calls to government officials to verify Miyakoshi’s plans weren’t answered.