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China Tries to Cool Soaring Property Market


China has taken steps to slow down its soaring housing market and Singapore's Tiger Beer will soon be brewed in Laos.

China has implemented new regulations to discourage real estate speculation and cool soaring property prices. The measures include higher minimum down payments, tighter lending standards and bans on new luxury housing projects.

Property prices in many Chinese cities have increased dramatically in recent years.

Peter So, China strategist at Macquarie Bank in Hong Kong, says Beijing is trying to avoid a real estate bubble, which could cause problems for China's banks. But So says the new measures are also aimed at easing public discontent, as housing has become one of the most visible signs of the growing gap between China's rich and poor.

"There is a lot of dissatisfaction among the population because they found it more and more difficult to buy apartments for their own," So said.

Singapore's Asia Pacific Breweries will build a brewery in Laos, in a joint venture with the Lao government and Lao company SBK Consultant Limited.

Construction of the $25 million brewery outside the capital Vientiane will start in July and is due for completion by the end of next year. It will produce APB's flagship Tiger beer.

Malaysia is in talks to set up Southeast Asia's first Disney theme park in its southern Johor state. Government officials had talks with executives from Oriental Land, the Japanese partner of Tokyo Disneyland.

Malaysia is also exploring bringing other attractions to the state, which lies next to Singapore, in an attempt to boost tourism.

A South Korean court sentenced the founder of the collapsed Daewoo Group to 10 years in prison for a range of offenses, including accounting fraud, illegal financing and embezzlement.

Kim Woo-Chong built South Korea's third-largest industrial group over three decades before it collapsed under massive debts in the late 1990s.

Kim fled the country in 1999 but returned to South Korea last year to face charges.