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The 2014 All-China Research Team: Real Estate, No. 1: Kam Keung (Oscar) Choi

< The 2014 All-China Research TeamKam Keung (Oscar) ChoiCitiFirst-Place Appearances: 5

Total Appearances: 5

Analyst Debut: 2010

Extending his winning streak to a fifth consecutive year is Kam Keung (Oscar) Choi. He and his Citi colleague Pierre Lau, who reports on Public Utilities, as well as Morgan Stanley’s Bin Li, covering China’s Health Care companies, are the only researchers whom buy-siders have deemed the best in their respective sectors every year since Institutional Investor launched the All-China Research Team, in 2010. Choi, 36, is “very thorough and hardworking, frequently visiting company projects and teams on the ground so that he has a good command of the strategy and the many project details,” declares one investor. China’s real estate shares tumbled 17 percent during the first half of this year, lagging the domestic broad market by 14.4 percentage points, and the Hong Kong–based analyst turned positive on the sector in July. He pointed to “convincing” valuations; advised investors that anticipated industry consolidation should benefit the top-quality names and usher in improved product quality and overall standards of professionalism; noted that a favorable policy environment, such as measures to loosen mortgage restrictions, should bolster performance; and forecasted a volume rebound in the following three to six months. By late last month the sector had clawed back 3.9 percent, against the wider market’s gain of 2.1 percent. Choi prefers the best-in-class companies that are poised to survive a correction to the country’s physical real estate market into next year thanks to their dominant exposures to China’s largest cities, strong financial positions and “excellent execution that is reflected in strong sales growth momentum and defensive profitability,” leading to countercycle expansion. Those developers include Hong Kong–based China Overseas Land & Investment, China Resources Land and Shimao Property Holdings; the A shares of Shenzhen-based China Vanke Co.; and Tianjin’s Sunac China Holdings. He notes that residential and commercial builder Sunac is the strongest performer in the Chinese property sector. Its shares were up 39.8 percent, at HK4.42, year to date through late November. Over the same period the sector declined by 13.8 percent.


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