Publicly listed in November 2005, Link REIT was the first real estate investment trust (REIT) in Hong Kong after the Hong Kong government decided to privatize a portfolio of community shopping malls, car parks, and fresh produce markets. Run by CEO, George Hongchoy, the company had evolved from managing retail spaces in public housing estates in Hong Kong into new property types such as offices, and into new geographies such as Beijing and Shanghai in Mainland China. The case centers around the many questions Hongchoy faced on whether the strategic shift would dilute Link's mission of servicing the local community with affordable yet quality retail experience, while balancing his responsibilties to his shareholders while pursuing other growth opportunities.
In this video supplement to the HBS case series "Sanford C. Bernstein Goes to Asia," case protagonist Ghislain de Charentenay recalls his leadership priorities and challenges upon being appointed director of research in Asia.
In 2016 against the backdrop of a challenging Chinese macroeconomic environment, SOHO China, the largest owner and developer of Class-A real estate in Beijing and Shanghai, was struggling to convince analysts of the merits of their new “build-to-hold” strategy. Founded as a merchant builder, the company went public in 2007 raising a record USD 1.9 billion, but the firm, led by Zhang Xin, refocused in 2012 towards a “build-to-hold” strategy in an effort to capture the long-term value of their properties. Ms. Zhang also saw an opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly growing “shared office” trend developing their own ‘3Q’ coworking product placing these centers in their newly held buildings. Despite 3Q’s initial success and the “build-to-hold” strategy beginning to bear fruit, SOHO’s stock price was still near record lows. How could Zhang Xin educate the stock market to reward SOHO’s share price and acknowledge the successful transition? Would these strategic decisions be sufficient to steer SOHO China through new economic hurdles? Is 3Q enough to buoy SOHO’s performance and bring them into the next phase of growth?
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