There are "very encouraging" signs in the Chinese real estate market, major Asian developer CapitaLand said last week.
"China remains a shining spark," Andrew Lim, CapitaLand Group's group chief financial officer, told CNBC's Squawk Box Asia on Friday.
His comments came after the company announced that first half 2020 earnings fell 89% from $ 875.4 million a year ago to $ 96.6 million ($ 70.5 million) .
Revenue was down 4.9%, "mainly due to rental discounts" and lower contributions from shopping malls and residential projects, the press release said. CapitaLand offered tenants who were affected by partial closures due to the coronavirus crisis easier with renting.
Earnings before interest and taxes also fell 71% compared to 2019. Singapore and China continue to contribute 74.1% to earnings before interest and taxes.
On Wednesday, November 27, 2019, customers will visit the CapitaLand Ltd. operated shopping mall Raffles City in Chongqing, China.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Lim noted that China was "first in the pandemic, but first" too. Covid-19 was originally discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, and China was able to lift restrictions on movement and resume economic activity earlier than the rest of the world.
"When you look at our business in China, you will see very encouraging signs in our residential business, retail stores, and appetite to get involved in property buying and selling," he said.
He added that the company is "very actively" trying to replenish its land bank in China, where appetite has returned "very clearly".
CapitaLand Retail China Trust, a REIT that manages 13 shopping centers in eight Chinese cities, recently said it was "optimistic" to expand its mandate beyond retail, said Lim. "This is something we will surely help them if we can. "