Shenzhen-listed real estate company Suning Universal set a land price record in Shanghai when it outbid nine other competitors from home and abroad by paying US$582 million (RMB4.4 billion) for a 13,709-square-meter plot situated on Nanjing Road East in downtown Huangpu district, the Shanghai Financial News reported. Suning Universal paid US$8,862 (RMB67,000) per square meter for the site, nearly doubling market estimates of US$3,968 (RMB30,000). The starting price was US$238 million (RMB1.8 billion). The bidding process took less than an hour, with the primary competition from Hong Kong property firm Wharf Holdings. Other interested buyers included Sun Hung Kai Properties Co and Tishman Speyer Properties. Colliers International – a leading international property services provider – commented that the astonishing outcome mirrors the strong demand for office space and the scarcity of office and retail sites in downtown Shanghai. The city’s top-grade office buildings such as Plaza 66 on Nanjing Road West in Jing’an district and Raffles City on Central Tibet Road in Huangpu district fetch an average rent of US$1.3 per square meter per day. Suning Universal and Suning Appliance Co – China’s second largest home appliance chain – are two independent companies whose chairmen are brothers, according to Sun Weiming, president of Suning Appliance.

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