China capital curbs push $100 bln Forest City to seek buyers elsewhere

SINGAPORE, March 31 (Reuters) - Country Garden Holdings Co

Ltd is looking to attract homebuyers from Southeast

Asia, India and the Middle East for its $100 billion Forest City

project in Malaysia, hoping to reduce its reliance on China amid

Beijing's capital controls.

The mixed-use development, which will include office towers,

malls and schools, is the most high-profile project in

Malaysia's ambitious Iskandar special economic zone and is being

built over 20 years on four man-made islands covering 14 square

kilometres.

The project has sold thousands of apartments so far, with

Chinese accounting for 70 percent of the buyers.

Forest City wants to diversify its client base, as Beijing

looks to tighten its grip on funds moving out of the country

after the yuan plummeted to more than eight-year lows.

"The capital controls will have an impact on Forest City,"

Yu Runze, chief strategy officer of Country Garden Pacificview,

said in a email to Reuters, adding it was an "opportunity to

shift our sales strategy to be more international."

He said the company will recruit local staff in the targeted

markets and increase its advertising budget there.

Country Garden said this month it had shut some mainland

China sales centres promoting the project for renovations amid

the capital controls.

For 2017, the developer aims to attract companies in the

tourism, education and healthcare sectors to set up shop in

Forest City, Yu said.

He expects to sign memorandums of understanding with about

30-40 companies from these sectors in July and another 30-40

companies by December.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Randy Fabi)