PETALING JAYA: The Greenland Group, one of China's biggest state-owned companies, has bought a 5.65ha site in Danga Bay, Johor for RM600 million, making its first foray into Malaysia. The property conglomerate yesterday signed a sales and purchase agreement with Johor-based Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) for the deal. The site, located close to the Johor Baru city centre, has been earmarked for a mixed integrated joint venture (JV) development with IWH. The project, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.2 billion, is to be completed within five years. The Shanghai-based group is keen to expand its land bank in Johor and is finalising talks with IWH and its associated companies for two or three more land acquisitions soon. Greenland, which was ranked 359 in the Fortune Global 500 company survey last year, has been on a buying spree in recent years, acquiring big real-estate projects in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, London and South Korea. Greenland Group chairman Zhang Yuliang believes the investment, by virtue of its strategic location and proximity to Singapore, will offer good returns. "We also believe through this JV with IWH, both Malaysia and China can reap the benefits of economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of our people," said Zhang. IWH plans to leverage on Greenland's forte in mixed commercial development, including high-end hotels and residential towers, to help transform Danga Bay into an integrated international waterfront city. "We believe Greenland Group will pave the way for more China state-owned companies to invest in outstanding property projects in Iskandar Malaysia and IWH's extensive waterfront landbank in Johor Baru," said IWH group executive director Lim Chen Herng. IWH is the master developer of some 1,620ha of waterfront land on the eastern and western sides of the Johor Causeway. The centerpiece of this development is Danga Bay, a burgeoning new growth centre within Flagship "A" of Iskandar Malaysia, which is being transformed into Malaysia's first integrated waterfront city. "To date 16 local and foreign companies have committed investments to develop properties in JV with IWH with a cumulative GDV of RM125 billion," said IWH managing director Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo. Other international property players who have already secured a foothold in Danga Bay include Singapore's Temasek and CapitaLand, Australia's Walker Group and China's Country Garden Holdings and Hao Yuan Investment. Leading Malaysian companies with on-going projects comprise of Tropicana Corp Bhd and Brunsfield Group. At least four other major China developers are also negotiating with IWH for integrated mixed property developments featuring exclusive waterfront properties here.