Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

Dubai and Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in downtown Dubai. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
0

Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

  • Real estate listing site eyes new markets
  • Property Finder originally established in 2007

LONDON: Property Finder, the online real estate business based in the UAE, has raised a further $120 million of funding as it targets growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The fund raising — described by chief executive and founder Michael Lahyani as “a major milestone” — was led by General Atlantic, the New York based investor with $28 billion of assets, which will become a new equity holder in Property Finder, alongside existing backer Vostok New ventures.
The proceeds will be used to fund technology innovation at the firm, in an effort to provide more transparency in the regional property market, and also to expand its operations into big markets like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where Lahyani sees potential.
Property Finder has been in the Kingdom for four years, with a workforce of around 40 people, and is now seeking to expand beyond its Riyadh headquarters to Jeddah and Eastern Province.
“The market is very exciting in Saudi. The real estate agents there are starting to come online, to advertise digitally. It has a large population, the biggest in the GCC by far, and it’s a market where we want to have a presence,” Lahyani said.
“Egypt is a fast growing market for us. A lot of real estate development is happening, they are building an entire new city outside Cairo and the country has more political and economic stability,” he added.
Property Finder has become a leading online real estate market place in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey since it was set up in 2007.
In its most recent report on the UAE market, the firm said that supply would continue to grow in real estate, with a total of around 68,000 new residential units expected to be completed this year and in 2019. Some experts have blamed oversupply for the market slump.
Lahyani said: “Even if the word is that prices are down and there is oversupply, it does not make it a bad market. Those that are buying now are doing good deals. We don’t see it as distinctly negative.
“The fact that prices are coming down is not a negative thing for Dubai. This is a city that’s looking at growing and attracting more people. The city had become more expensive for quite a few people and the biggest part of that expense is usually your rent or your mortgage. If you can lower that segment of your expense you can attract more people, so we are heading in the right direction in that sense,” he added.
He said that from his perspective there had not yet been any noticeable effect from the prospect of the Expo 2020 business fair, which some have forecast will result in an economic boost for the UAE and a pickup in property demand.


China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

Updated 23 May 2019
0

China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

  • The trade spat between US and China escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders last week on grounds of national security
  • Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components

BEIJING: China’s foreign minister has slammed US moves against telecom giant Huawei as “economic bullying,” and warned that Beijing was ready to “fight to the very end” in its trade war with Washington.
The trade spat between the world’s top two economies escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders on grounds of national security last week that have prompted several foreign firms to distance themselves from Huawei.
“The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security group led by Beijing and Moscow.
Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components over activities the US says are contrary its national security or foreign policy interests.
Japan’s Panasonic announced on Thursday that it was cutting back business with Huawei in light of the US ban. A day earlier, mobile carriers in Japan and Britain said they would postpone the release of Huawei smartphones.
“Some people in the United States do not want China to enjoy the legitimate right to develop, and seek to impede its development process,” Wang said, according to a foreign ministry statement issued late Wednesday.
“This extremely presumptuous and egocentric American approach is not able to gain the approval and support of the international community.”
The two countries have yet to set a date to recommence trade negotiations after they resumed their tariffs battle earlier this month, with Trump raising punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing hiking those on $60 billion in American products.
Trump has accused China of reneging on its commitments in the trade negotiations. Beijing has countered that any deal needs to be balanced.
“It is impossible for us to sign or recognize an agreement that is unequal,” Wang said.
“If the United States is willing to negotiate on an equal footing, then on the Chinese side, the door is wide open. But if the United States opts for a policy of maximum pressure, then China will take them on and fight to the end,” he said.