The Malaysia-Singapore high speed rail dream has been dashed. In the wake of the recent news of the project termination are feelings of a loss of opportunities for the peoples of both countries.


Current population


San Francisco Bay Area

7.8 million

18,000 sq km

Tokyo Bay Area

44 million

13,600 sq km

New York city metropolitan area

20 million

21,000 sq km

Greater Bay Area (China)

69.5 million

55,000 sq km

Data: The Diplomat

Economic loss. Social. Political. Even the climate suffers - because rail travel has a lower carbon footprint than air travel.

Contrast that with the "Greater Bay Area", encompassing Guangdong province-Hong Kong-Macau.

It's a grand plan to turn the GBA into an economic entity rivalling peers such as the New York and Tokyo bay areas. 

In the short term, the authorities plan to construct 13 intercity railways and 5 hub projects, with a total mileage of about 775 kilometers and investment of almost 474.1 billion yuan.

A good example will be the construction of 6 intercity railway and 3 hub projects to be started before 2022, including the Guangqing Intercity North Extension Line and the Guangzhou East Railway Station renovation project.

In the long run, by 2035, the railway network in the Greater Bay Area will reach 5,700 kilometers, covering all cities above the county level.

-- (Aug 2020)

Chen Guanghan, a professor from Sun Yatsen University’s Research Institute of the Development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, commented that the “vision of the Greater Bay Area is far more than just a bridge or a railway. No country has ever tried something like this before, merging different tax and customs and legal systems.

Within the Greater Bay Area lies Zhongshan city, which is positioned to become a regional technology and R&D centre.

Zhongshan has a unique strategic position as it is the central city of the Greater Bay Area.

Then there is Zhuhai City, which is to become the regional innovation centre and transport hub.

What about these two cities?

They are where six retail malls of Singapore-listed Dasin Retail Trust are sited. A seventh mall is in nearby Foshan City.

graphic GBA1.21Source: Company, Phillip Securities.

Dasin Retail Trust is thus fortuitously positioned to capitalise on the near-term and long-term growth of the Greater Bay Area.

The population in the Greater Bay Area is forecast to grow by 43% over the next 15 years -- from 70 million to 100 million.

As at 31 December 2019, the five malls were valued at RMB9.5 billion (S$1.8 billion). They host a tenant base of over 500 local and international retailers.

Listed on 20 January 2017, Dasin Retail Trust has the distinction of being the only China retail property trust listed on SGX-ST providing direct exposure to the Greater Bay Area.

Dasin CEOWangQiu quote9.20Market cap on 8 Jan 2021: S$599 million (unit price: 77 cents)
* SGX article here.

What analysts say

• DBS Group Research: DCF-based TP of S$0.86. Implies FY21F target yield of 8.0%. Dasin’s asset concentration in the Greater Bay Area enables the Trust to tap on the region’s growth. Guangdong’s GDP soared 10.7% in 2019, outperforming China’s GDP growth of 6.0%. With the Chinese government releasing a blueprint outlining its high hopes for the area, Dasin is well placed to benefit from GBA’s growing prosperity.

• Phillip Securities: BUY, TP of S$0.90. Stock catalysts expected from the population growth in the Greater Bay Area, potential acquisitions, and rental uplift post-AEI. S$0.90 target translates to FY20e/21e DPU yields of 6.3%/7.2%.

• Soochow CSSD Capital Markets: Reiterate BUY at TP $0.91. DASIN has 15 ROFR (right of first refusal) assets, which we expect to drive inorganic growth FY21E onwards. DASIN is trading at 0.63x P/B, 6.29% FY20E yield, with 9% DPU CAGR from FY20-22E. 

See recent story: DASIN RETAIL TRUST: Target 90 cents, yield 6.3% (FY2020)

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