Looking at world markets from our global headquarters in Singapore, and beginning with Asia, our strategy here includes focusing more heavily on Southeast Asia, and we think Indochina, particularly Vietnam and Cambodia will be the faster-growing markets.
More developed markets like Singapore are expected to slow down.
Having said that, while the first half of 2017 may be sluggish, we think the outlook for the second half is better with forecasters predicting the Chinese market will improve. Globally, there are signs of big real estate markets elsewhere coming back to life. In particular, the US is in reasonable shape, and we are looking closely at developing our presence there.
We are quite bullish on Africa, both on real estate and on project infrastructure. I have made a number of trips personally during 2016, and we now have offices in Rwanda and Kenya following acquisition of a 50-strong business there.
We are now established in Egypt with an office of 35 people. Egypt is a country of 80 million people and an interesting market with good long term prospects.
In recent years, we have put a lot of effort into the Middle East. The World Cup in Qatar and the decision in Saudi Arabia to divest itself of oil assets to release funds for investment are both significant drivers.
The UK, and London in particular, will continue to benefit from long-term visibility and a reputation as an attractive place to invest. Overseas investors still want to invest despite political changes, and of course the exchange rate makes London property significantly more affordable than it was. We are certainly aware of investors in Singapore who are interested in the opportunities.
Meanwhile, UK pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds are all looking for London real estate investment opportunities. If you can structure good projects, investors will want to get involved.