Alibaba Singles Day sales hit over $1 billion in 85 seconds
Alibaba smashed its single day sales record Sunday during the online retail blitz known as Singles Day. The Chinese e-commerce giant said that sales soared past $30 billion for the 24 hour period. The previous record, set last year, was $24.2 billion. The shopping extravanganza regularly racks up bigger sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. But this year’s Singles Day comes as Alibaba’s growth is coming under pressure from China’s slowing economy, new rivals in the e-commerce industry and the trade war with the United States. Alibaba cut its annual revenue forecast by as much as 6% earlier this month. Alibaba started offering Singles Day discounts in 2009 and has since turned the day into a 24-hour bonanza of online shopping in China. International companies flock to Alibaba’s celebrity-studded live telecast and its various online platforms, eager to hawk everything from liquor to sports cars. (Hartford Business)

Stamp duty waivers will boost housing market, says Knight Frank Malaysia
The stamp duty waiver on the instrument of transfer for first time home buyers announced in Budget 2019 will provide a boost to the current slow housing market, said Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam. “The exemptions and initiatives, in particular the waiver of stamp duty on the instrument of transfer and loan agreement for residential homes…are expected to kick-start the housing market moving into 2019 and beyond,” he said. As a whole, the real estate consultancy described Budget 2019 as a well-rounded national budget that “lives up to their [the government’s] social responsibility of securing the nation’s well-being by promoting economic growth while reducing fiscal deficit”. (The Edge Markets)

‘Raise Airport REIT’s free float to attract more foreign funds’
Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA) has suggested that the government consider increasing the free float of the proposed airport real estate investment trust (Airport REIT) – the first such REIT in the world – to more than 30% to attract a higher foreign participation in the local capital market. Increasing the free float will increase the proposed REIT’s liquidity and tradability, said MRMA chairman Datuk Jeffrey Ng. The government proposed the Airport REIT under Budget 2019, with the intention to raise RM4 billion from the disposal of a 30% stake in the REIT. MRMA views the REIT as a strategic way to unlock the country’s aviation infrastructure value and create a sustainable funding structure for local airports’ future capital expenditure and expansion, while igniting capital market interest. (The Edge Markets)

Only 1% of Malaysian property owned by foreigners
Foreigners do not own more than 1% of property in Malaysia, revealed Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. In March 2014, the government had imposed a RM1 million minimum property purchase price for foreigners. However, state governments have the right to adjust the property price purchase minimum, which led to non-homogeneity in the policy. “Currently, from Perlis to Johor, the minimum price differs. Therefore, my ministry will review the quota for foreign ownership of property so that a detailed guideline can be implemented by the state governments,” she said. Concerning the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme which purportedly affect Malaysians’ ability to buy property, Zuraida said that the programme had set down several conditions. It is limited to foreigners aged 50 and above, who are receiving medical treatment in Malaysia or have children studying here. They can only stay for a period of 10 years (subject to review) and need to put down a RM3 million monetary deposit. (NST Online)

United Malacca to sell estates in Melaka, Negeri Sembilan
United Malacca Bhd is considering disposing of four estates in Melaka and Negeri Sembilan with proceeds from the disposal to be utilised mainly for the development expenditure, particularly for its Sulawesi plantation. United Malacca said the disposal would be made through an open tender to be handled by an authorised property agent namely, WTW Real Estate Sdn Bhd. However, the company stressed that the proposed disposal would not result in retrenchment of employees. (The Star Online)