One of China's largest developers has arrived in New Zealand for two big Auckland projects worth $189 million and has given away facemasks and hand sanitiser to all its buyers.
Across the Tasman, a subsidiary of the same Chinese business generated publicity earlier this year when it airlifted tonnes of personal protective equipment from Australia to pandemic-hit Wuhan.
Sunny Development New Zealand is advertising and marketing new apartment schemes at Grafton in the city and at Albany to the north of Auckland.
Companies Office records show Sunny Development New Zealand is part of the larger Risland, owned by Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Country Garden Holdings which trades at HK10.88.
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Country Garden's market capitalisation has been reported at US$296 billion and it is partly-owned by China's richest women, Yang Hiyan, 38.
In February the Sydney office of a Country Garden subsidiary, Risland Australia, had 82 tonnes of supplies flown to Wuhan.
That move caused concern in Australia. In March, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on two Chinese property companies based in Sydney flying the tonnes of medical supplies on a corporate jet to Wuhan when coronavirus was devastating the regional city.
Bixia Liang, marketing manager for Sunny Development New Zealand in Auckland said around 100 buyers of the company's new Auckland projects were given 50 face masks and four bottles of hand sanitiser each.
"Risland is all over the world and we have projects in America, England, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. In New Zealand, there's a housing shortage and we'd like to provide more places to the local market."
Risland NZ says on its website that it donated face masks to St John New Zealand which Liang said was "because we know people from St John and we wanted to give back to the community. We gave 2000 face masks in April and May".
Construction work in Grafton started last July and is due to finish later next year.
Bloomberg says: "Country Garden Holdings Company Limited operates as a real estate development company. The company develops and markets high-rise residential buildings, low-rise apartments, villas, commercial facilities, office buildings, and other related areas. Country Garden Holdings also operates building renovation, property investment, property management, and other businesses."
Sunny Development New Zealand's office is at 638 Great South Rd, Ellerslie. It was registered in 2017, its trading name given as Risland and it is wholly owned by Hong Kong's More Rise Enterprises.
Risland Australia Country Garden's venture in Sydney saw 296 apartments at its Ryde Garden development reportedly sold within six hours in 2014 for around A$80m.
Country Garden Holdings says it has worked on more than 200 developments throughout China, Malaysia and Australia. The business was founded by Yang Guoqiang. In 2005, he reportedly transferred his shares in Country Garden Holdings Company to his daughter, Yang Huiyan. In October 2007, Forbes declared her Asia's richest woman with a net worth of US$16b.
Risland's web site lists two New Zealand apartment projects: one under way, the other about to start.
Liang said units would be sold to "Chinese, people from Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere as well as ex-pats - New Zealanders returning from living overseas."
Neo is a 99-unit $89m project now rising at 5-9 Madeira Lane, Grafton, built by CMP Construction with apartments ranging from studio to one-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-bedroom and studies.
Last year, the Overseas Investment Office granted an exemption for the foreign-owned Sunny Grafton Apartments to sell those units to foreigners because under the Overseas Investment Act, foreigners can't buy New Zealand homes.
"This exemption certificate applies to the development, located at 5-9 Madeira Lane, Grafton, consisting of approximately 0.1842ha," the office said.
Risland Albany is a 141-unit three-building $110m scheme at 2 Munroe Lane, Albany. Resource consent is granted and Liang said construction would start this month.
On April 24, the OIO granted an exemption to Sunny Munroe Joint Development also allowing those units to go to foreigners.
"This exemption certificate applies to the development, located at 2 Munroe Lane, consisting of approximately 0.3102ha," the office said.
CMP won both contracts, Liang said.
Yang Hiyan and her father had visited New Zealand: "They really like it here. That's why we do business here," Liang said.
"A number of projects have been cancelled but we really want to stay here for a long time - not one project and run away. Our goal is to provide more houses for people who need them," Liang said.
"At Neo, we didn't borrow any money from the bank. We used our own money to fund the whole project. Also, we guarantee we are not going to increase the price of apartments between pre-sales and settlement. There will be no price increase during the construction period," she said.
The business was employing local builders and architects, she said.