Country Garden shuts China showrooms amid tighter FX controls

SINGAPORE, March 10 (Reuters) - Country Garden Holdings Co

Ltd said on Friday it has shut some China showrooms

that promote its Malaysian Forest City development to adapt to

stricter foreign exchange policies and as it looks to diversify

its sales strategy for the project.

The developer has sold thousands of apartments in its

massive Forest City project in Malaysia's ambitious Iskandar

special economic zone, with Chinese nationals accounting for 70

percent of the buyers.

The closures comes as China tightens its grip on moving

funds out of the country as the yuan plumbed more than

eight-year lows. The tighter rules have created extra challenges

for firms or deals relying on Chinese investment.

Country Garden said in a statement on Friday it was

overhauling its mainland Chinese sales centres "to better fit

with current foreign exchange policies and regulations" and as

the firm looked to diversify its development strategy.

"Country Garden Group resolutely abides by relevant foreign

exchange related rules and actively adapts it overseas

development strategy to adapt to a constantly changing national

and international policy and legal environment," it said.

The firm added that the current foreign exchange controls

were "necessary", but that they could not continue forever.

Among stricter measures in China, banks now require

customers purchasing foreign currency to specify how they will

use the funds and have been reminding individuals about

restrictions on overseas property investment.

Economists expect forceful policing of capital controls this

year, though China's financial system is notoriously porous,

with speculators often able to find new ways to get money out.

Yu Runze, the chief strategy officer for the development,

told Reuters last month that the project was seeking to decrease

its reliance on Chinese buyers, and expand efforts in other

countries, including in the Middle East, India and Indonesia.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Adam Jourdan; Editing by

Sam Holmes)