Soho China, a Beijing-based commercial property developer, is ready to pursue acquisitions after a year of inactivity.

'The impact of the financial meltdown on the mainland was beyond our expectations and we adopted a winter sleep strategy,' chairman Pan Shiyi said. 'We are now awake and see good opportunities to acquire assets in Shanghai and Beijing.'

Pan said some cash-strapped foreign investors and local developers were selling distressed assets at up to half their purchase prices.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission's decision to relax loans for mergers and acquisitions would allow banks to provide lending for up to 50% of a deal, he said. This would facilitate future acquisitions, but he admitted the outlook for the property market was still hazy.

South China Morning Post