Chinese firm plans mini city for Joburg

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Cape Town - In a show of confidence in South Africa, Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai plans to build a mini city in Johannesburg on the 1 600ha of land and buildings it bought from explosive company AECI.

The company sees the mini city to be the future centre of Johannesburg.

"It provides a huge economic boost for South Africa with this new money coming in," said ENSafrica, who advised the Chinese firm in the acquisition.

In one of the biggest real estate deals in South Africa, AECI announced on Monday that it is selling its surplus property assets in Modderfontein in Gauteng to Shanghai Zendai.

ENSafrica said in a statement on Tuesday that the deal will see the Chinese firm invest approximately R80bn in the project and creating approximately 24 000 direct jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.

Shanghai Zendai Property will develop the land in three ways, chairperson Dai Zhikang, told Fin24's sister website Property24.

Although it is in the early stages of planning, Zhikang said the firm envisages developing the land in three ways:

(i) independently as Shanghai Zendai,
(ii) joint ventures and/or partnerships, and
(iii) selling the land to other developers.

Zhikang said this vision will involve a local management team working with local contractors and employees.

The decision to invest in South Africa involved three years of research and was aided by the People’s Republic of China's policy framework regarding the emergence of Brics.

"It’s also a stepping stone should we choose to grow our footprint in South Africa and the rest of Africa,” he said.

Accordign to ENSafrica Shanghai Zendai has 7 focus sectors for the land:

* Finance and trade
* Industrial zone (light industry – warehousing, manufacturing)
* Convention centre
* African heritage theme park
* Education and training (skills transfer)
* Sports and recreation
* Community (planning for 30 to 35K families to live there)

AECI said it would continue to manage the land and buildings it owns in Somerset West in the Western Cape and Umbogintwini in KwaZulu-Natal.

- Fin24

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