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Australian investor to develop eco-city in Tianjin, China
By Robert Vasilak

An Australian investor is searching for partners who’ll help build an “eco-city” in northeastern China, including a retirement community and several golf courses.

George Wang, the principal of AIMS Financial Group, wants to build his mini-city on 988 acres of municipally owned property near Tianjin, China’s sixth-largest city (population: nearly 12 million). The investment appears to be a safe bet. Last year, Tianjin’s economy reportedly grew by 16.5 percent.

“Tianjin is the next Shanghai,” Wang told late last year. “Many large companies have set up there – Samsung, Motorola – and it has a lot of potential for growth.”

Wang, who’s been investing in China for a decade or more, intends to tap that potential. Earlier this year, Tianjin and AIMS signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop what’s been described as “a sustainable tourism township” in an area called Xiaying. The city will consist of houses (including a seniors-only community), various leisure and hospitality facilities (presumably hotels and recreation areas), a vineyard (“I want to bring Australian wine growers to Xiaying,” Wang recently told the Australian), and some golf courses.

Wang also plans to rebuild a cluster of ancient Taoist temples on the property, in an effort to spark historical tourism. Wang was born on Hainan Island and studied engineering at Shanghai University, but he moved to Australia in the late 1980s, while he was in his 20s. He learned English, worked as an insurance salesman, and created AIMS to sell mortgages.

But Wang understood the velocity of money, and AIMS quickly branched out into investment banking, mortgage securitization, and real estate investment trusts. Wang plans to fund the construction of the “eco-city” in Xiaying with money provided by private investors in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia, through what the Australian recently described as “a China Agricultural Eco City Development Fund.”

He eventually hopes to build five or six similar communities in China, all of them to be funded by real estate investment trusts.

In his interview with, Wang said, “I believe China is the future, with its booming economic growth and massive logistics and manufacturing potential.”

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form.

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