CHINESE conglomerate HNA Group plans to link up with CT Bright, an investment unit of Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), to set up a fund for investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
HNA Group, based in Hainan province and founded in 2000, is involved in aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism, logistics, and other industries.
It is a partial owner of Grand China Air, and they Hilton Hotels group.
According to Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, HNA Innovation Finance and CT Bright will contribute 20 per cent each to the fund - which may reach US$5 billion over the next three to five years - to invest in the US$43 billion EEC project
CP Group, among others, have been assigned to conduct a feasibility study and possibly invest in a high-speed train linking the revitalised U-Tapao international airport in Rayong province to Bangkok.
CP Group could not be reached for comment.
The South China Morning Post reported that HNA’s investment in Thailand is in line with China’s state policies after its previous “global shopping spree landed it under a regulatory spotlight”. In April, the group was among four Chinese private companies to be scrutinised by China’s financial regulators for their debt exposure.
The Thai project follows HNA’s US$1 billion purchase in April of Singapore’s CWT, a supply chain engineering and logistics company. HNA Innovation plans to use CWT as its toehold to enter Southeast Asia for trading bulk commodities, management and ancillary financial services, chief executive Guo Ke said in an interview last month with the Hong Kong-based newspaper.
The government is aiming to turn the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao - with a combined area of 13,285 square kilometres - into an economic zone for technological, manufacturing and services.
The project could be a reality by 2021, according to government plans, with capital to be raised from state coffers, foreign investment and partnerships between the public and private sectors.
With its wings clipped, HNA switched gear. It will stick closer to the Chinese government’s state policy of encouraging investments and infrastructure along the Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, as the government’s modern iteration of the ancient Silk Road trading routes is called, and consider disposing off assets that deviate from that strategy, HNA Group’s chief executive Adam Tan told the newspaper.
HNA said in a statement: “In consideration of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, HNA Innovation Finance Group will keep up with the national pace, seize development opportunities, arrange its global business layout and spare no effort in becoming an international trade and finance investment group contributing to connected infrastructures, while smoothing trade and free capital flows in strong support of the Belt and Road initiative.”
HNA Innovation Finance Group HNA Innovation Finance Group is a financial service group under HNA Group, a Fortune Global 500 company. It is headquartered in Hong Kong, with six subsidiaries, total asset of 60 billion yuan and a comprehensive business range covering commodity trade, financial investment and consumer finance, among other lines.
Based on a so-called 3+X development model, HNA Innovation Finance will strive to create a complete financial industry chain through innovative financial products in relation to investment, trade and consumption, in order to reshape China’s financial trade market and realise disruptive development.