Hang Lung Properties (HLP) is using the downturn in the property market on the mainland to increase its land bank. It has built up one such portfolio, allowing it to develop more than 2 million square metres of retail and office space in China, which will allow the company to sustain its pace of expansion over the next decade.
HLP opened its first mainland shopping mall outside Shanghai two years ago. Palace 66, a 110,000-sqm complex, opened in June 2010 in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province. Meanwhile, the 171,000-sqm Parc 66 mall opened last August in Jinan, the capital of Shandong.
The company plans to complete one major commercial project every year in the next few years. Forum 66 in Shenyang, a mixed development, will open in phases from the fourth quarter of this year. It includes a shopping mall, twin office towers, a hotel and serviced apartments.
Other projects that are under construction are in second-tier mainland cities such as Wuxi, Tianjin and Dalian. In September 2011, the company bought a plot in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. This was its first land purchase in China since 2009.
In order to accommodate the need for talent given the company's continuous expansion, HLP is looking for recruits in its project development department to perform managerial roles in architecture, electrical and mechanical engineering and quantity surveying.
"At [HLP], we make sure our remuneration package is competitive and that we offer good opportunities for career growth. But there is more to it," says Christina Leung, HLP's head of human resources and training.
"We have a strong focus on the quality of employees, and our mission is to attract and retain high quality staff who can grow with the company."
Having almost 3,000 employees in Hong Kong and on the mainland, the company aims to ensure that staff stay by providing them with careers rather than merely jobs. To this end, HLP provides extensive and continuous learning opportunities that cover both personal development and professional training.
For example, in 2010-11, each staff member received an average of three training days, and total company training hours reached 66,000 hours. "We are also dedicated to organising engagement programmes to maintain a satisfying long-term relationship with our staff, and help them build a strong sense of belonging," says Leung. "We believe building a bond between us and the staff will boost productivity and quality.
"Over the past year, we have had various programmes to drive the `Hang Lung as One' idea, which is about nurturing ties between the company, the staff and their family members," says Leung, adding that quality family life can ultimately benefit business growth as staff can concentrate more on their work.
"That's why our programmes attempt to help [our employees'] families understand more about the workplace, and how they could support the staff in their work."