Housing

A woman wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks past a residential compound in Beijing, China, 11 August 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

The Chinese property bubble that just won't burst

While the Chinese government has implemented cooling measures including reminding people that property is “not for speculation”, it seems that people are not taking it seriously and still believe that property is a guaranteed investment. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing takes the temperature of the Chinese property market.
Ke Huanzhang (left) and Liu Thai Ker are veteran urban planners in China and Singapore. (SPH)

Liu Thai Ker and Ke Huanzhang: Urban planners are servants of the city

How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
A news report on Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in the city of Shenzhen is shown on a public screen in Hong Kong, 14 October 2020. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Xi's five-year plan for Shenzhen: A hard road ahead?

Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, such that its GDP reached a massive 2.7 trillion RMB in 2019. Just this month, the Chinese government released a five-year plan to make Shenzhen a “pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Amid plans for reforms and new initiatives, EAI academic Yu Hong asks: How much autonomy will Shenzhen have, and what challenges will it face?
People with face masks are seen at a square near residential buildings under construction in Xianning, Hubei, China, on 25 March 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Property now a liability for China’s middle class

With salary cuts, housing loans on their backs and little means of generating cash flow, middle-class workers across China’s cities are walking the tightrope of trying to maintain their living standards while keeping up with their mortgage payments. The recently-announced stimulus plan may not solve their housing woes either.
A couple poses for a wedding photographer as they postponed their marriage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in Wuhan, China, on 14 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Chinese couples queuing up for divorce: Blame it on the coronavirus?

Appointments for divorce are fully booked on Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau’s marriage registry system. The next slot will only be available after mid-June. Divorce rates are on the rise in China, presumably due to increased frictions between couples brought about by extensive lockdowns. But a complicated web of social policies tied to one’s marital status, be it buying a house or getting a loan, may be the hidden lever tipping decisions towards divorce.
A large 拆 ("demolish") is painted on the wall of a building in China due to be torn down. (Internet)

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: Who wants to be a Chinese millionaire

Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu talked to a Shanghai Didi driver whose family made nearly 20 million RMB (close to S$4 million) from the government's relocation exercises. His old properties measured just 35 square metres in total. What a way to get rich! But what are the problems that lie beneath the surface?