16 February 2019
Living in Shenzhen has distinct advantages but it makes sense only if you're willing to cross the border every day. Photo: Bloomberg
Living in Shenzhen has distinct advantages but it makes sense only if you're willing to cross the border every day. Photo: Bloomberg

Container home or cheap Shenzhen flat? Your choice

Social housing? Container home? Super-low down payment?

Ahead of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address in three weeks, Hong Kong  developers are rushing to come up with a creative solution to the age-old housing shortage. Among the proposals are flat-sharing and container homes.

Henderson Land is offering 100 units of social housing in Kowloon City for HK$1 while New World Development is providing a substantial subsidy to university students in its first-time buyer scheme in Tuen Mun.

And with the No. 1 developer Sun Hung Kai Properties dangling three unspecified sites for young people, all eyes are on what Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, has to offer.

Unlike her predecessor, the professional surveyor Leung Chun-ying, Carrie Lam seems to know how to turn government-private collusion into cooperation that society can accept as a solution to a burning problem.

Hopes are high that the Development Bureau will quickly put together modular housing at Science Park and at the University of Hong Kong for young entrepreneurs and students.

Still, it may not be enough. Many have expressed their wish to live in Shenzhen instead.

In the top post of a Hong Kong discussion forum this week, netizens expressed their disappointment over how they pay as much as HK$5,000 for a 50 square foot room that they can only sleep in and play their mobile phones.

According to them, moving to Shenzhen is a much better proposition for a whole lot of reasons:

1. A 4,500 yuan monthly rent can get you a 400 square foot apartment.

2. The decoration is better than in Hong Kong.

3. It makes for a more convenient life because there is no extra charge for ordering from Taobao.

4. Living conditions are much better than in Hong Kong with more outdoor space.

5. The are no restrictions on keeping dogs.

6. You can invite friends to stay over.

7. The food is cheaper. A rice roll (cheung fan) costs only 7 yuan, or half the price in Hong Kong

8. You can lower your consumption to as much as half if you shop on Taobao or

9. You can buy an 80-inch TV with unlimited access to movies and TV dramas for 10,000 yuan while sitting in a L-shaped sofa, a luxury people can ill-afford unless they live in a place bigger than 1,000 square feet.

That’s right. The Shenzhen deal is something local developers can’t match. But it makes sense only if you’re willing to cross the border every day.

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EJ Insight writer

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