Tencent executive buys duplex in prestigious Repulse Bay seafront development for US$35 million

By Pearl Liu pearl.liu@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3083206/tencent-executive-buys-duplex-prestigious-repulse-bay-seafront-development?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp&utm_content=3083206 | May 12, 2020 12:06 PM SGT
A Tencent executive has paid HK$270 million (US$34.8 million) for a massive duplex in the prestigious neighbourhood of Repulse Bay.
James Gordon Mitchell, chief strategy officer and vice-president at the Chinese tech giant, bought the 5,076 sq ft property at 56 Repulse Bay Road, overlooking one of Hong Kong's most scenic beaches, at about 18 per cent less than the owner's original asking price of HK$328 million, according to agents familiar with the deal. Mitchell and his wife Joy Hu Lan-Ya are the joint owners of the property, according to Land Registry documents.
He paid HK$53,000 per square foot for the duplex, which comes with a 1,544 sq ft rooftop garden. The house has been on the market since 2014.
Deep-pocketed buyers from mainland Chinese tech companies, who have made billions from share sales in the past decade, have been acquiring property in Hong Kong's wealthy residential enclaves.
Repulse Bay is one of Hong Kong's most sought after addresses. Photo: Handout alt=Repulse Bay is one of Hong Kong's most sought after addresses. Photo: Handout
Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba Group Holding, bought a mansion at 22 Barker Road on The Peak for US$191 million in 2015. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
In 2009, Tencent Holding co-founder Pony Ma bought a 8,000 sq ft house " which can be seen from the Dragon's Back hiking trail above Shek O " from Wah Kwong Shipping's former chairman George Chao for HK$480 million.
Mitchell, who has been with Tencent since 2011, is responsible for strategic planning and implementation, mergers and acquisitions, investment activities and investor relations, according to Tencent's website.
Mitchell used Milifield Management as an investment vehicle. The mortgage records show that Mitchell and his wife are the new directors of Milifield. The original owners of the company were from the Fok family, who had acquired the property in 2006 for HK$88.27 million. The Fok family is one of Hong Kong's wealthy clans, with interests spanning from casinos to real estate.
Hong Kong's luxury property market has been hit by poor sentiment owing to the slowing economy resulting from the months-long social unrest and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"The luxury residential market has always been more volatile," said Henry Mok, senior director of capital markets at JLL in Hong Kong. "It can be expected that the luxury market will be subject to more price and rental pressure than the mass market, particularly during this period of economic uncertainty."
Data from JLL on Wednesday showed that the average price of luxury residential property has fallen by 8.6 per cent from a peak in the second quarter of 2019.
In the first quarter only 118 new and lived-in villas were sold amounting to HK$5 billion, the lowest in the past four years, according to Centaline Property.
Simon Smith, a senior director at Savills, said there has been some evidence of distressed selling in the high-end property market and more such sales will be seen in the coming months.
"We expect volumes to continue to bear the brunt with prices enjoying a certain level of support from low interest rates and low levels of new completions," he said.
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