GIC Real Estate has formed a joint venture with JapanÆs Sumitomo Corporation to invest in large-scale retail properties across Japan. The announcement comes just a few weeks after GIC Real Estate announced a joint venture in Australia and underscores the bullishness of the cash-rich Singaporean property investor with respect to the Asia-Pacific region.

GIC will make the investment in the JV through an affiliate company. The JV will, over the next two years, invest up to Ñ150 billion ($1.3 billion) in retail properties in Japan, including both complete projects and those under development. It will also acquire under-performing assets and enhance their value. The partners intend to grow the joint venture into one of the largest private retail property investment platforms in Japan.

The target markets for the JV are Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and other major cities. Sumitomo will manage the JVÆs assets and be responsible for sourcing, development and operations. The JV has already invested in assets including a department store and development projects.

"This alliance reinforces our strategy of investing in a diversified portfolio and establishing long-term relationships with strong local partners,ö says Seek Ngee Huat, president of GIC Real Estate. Huat also highlights that the investment is an expansion of GICÆs retail exposure in Japan.

GIC Real Estate has been investing in Japan for a decade and its portfolio in the country is a mixed including malls, serviced apartment complexes and logistics facilities through a joint venture with ProLogis.

GIC Real Estate has over 200 investments in more than 30 countries. It has said in the past that it employs a strategy of having a long-term view and diversifying risks to ride out shorter-term cycles. Significantly increasing its exposure to Japan seems to fit well in that strategy.