For three years, Alibaba Group had been looking for land in Beijing to build a high-quality office tower and consolidate multiple offices. The international e-commerce company sought a high-quality property of 50,000 to 60,000 square meters, with convenient transportation and amenities suitable for a high-tech workforce. The challenge was significant, given the limited supply of office space for large occupiers in Beijing. In 2013, Alibaba appointed CBRE to assist in the search.
"CBRE has always been a good partner of the Alibaba Group over the years,” said Gavin Liu, Property-Investment Center, Alibaba Group. “CBRE has provided Alibaba with extensive market research and a wide range of services in regard to development consultancy, market studies, corporate real estate portfolio management throughout China, and, most recently, acquisition in Beijing.”
CBRE quickly identified three submarkets that met Alibaba’s goals for a strategic investment: Wangjing, Shijingshan and Zhongguancun, all hubs for the e-commerce and information technology industries. Wangjing, located in the northeast of Beijing, benefits from relatively affordable land, convenient transportation, proximity to the airport and logistics infrastructure, and favorable incentive policies. The submarket is characterized by an intensive gathering of hi-tech companies, including Sony Ericsson, Schneider and Siemens, as well as Daimler and Caterpillar.
After multiple rounds of recommendations and evaluations, CBRE successfully sourced Building #3 of the Beijing Greenland Center, owned by Greenland Group in Wangjing.
“CBRE sourced the project, matched both parties’ product and commercial requirements, assisted in analysis of the market, regions and comparative properties, helped to negotiate on price and contract clauses, and finally, facilitated the contract signing and successful cooperation,” said Lansing Bao, Wangjing Project Director of Marketing, Beijing-Tianjin Real Estate Division, Greenland Holding Group.
CBRE’s Investment Properties and Client teams collaborated on the assignment. With the teams’ deep knowledge of local market dynamics, CBRE was able to close the pre-construction sale transaction in just three months. It was the first time the Greenland Center was listed for en-bloc sale in the Beijing market, and the first acquisition Alibaba conducted with a brokerage firm.
“CBRE offered valuable experience in negotiating the contract terms,” said Lansing Bao. “Their insight and professional knowledge were definitive in closing our successful transaction.”
“CBRE is a very important partner and outstanding service provider for Alibaba Group,” Gavin Liu said. “Over the years, CBRE has provided Alibaba with strong strategic advice that has helped Alibaba Group to produce high-quality self-built properties and improve the operational efficiency of leased properties. We are looking forward to occupying our newest facility at Greenland Center and appreciate CBRE’s assistance.”
Greenland Center is the closest project to the subway, offered the space and design Alibaba needed, and met its timetable, with completion scheduled for the end of 2014.