China’s sovereign-wealth fund has its eyes on US real estate, the Wall Street Journal reports. China Investment Corp. laid low throughout 2008 as the global economy teetered but is now opening its coffers. And depressed US commercial property values—off 35% from their peak—coupled with cheap government financing, could lead to widespread purchasing by the fund. CIC already has met with US private-equity firms.
CIC has spent more in one month this year than it did in all of 2008. But its moves on US real estate are likely to be subtle, unlike the Japanese acquisitions of the 1980s—including Rockefeller Center—that raised hackles in this country. The CIC is more likely to take minority stakes in investments and work through a US fund manager, says one analyst.