20 April 2019
Signs are emerging that China's property market is starting to lose steam. Photo: Xinhua
Signs are emerging that China's property market is starting to lose steam. Photo: Xinhua

Topless models show China property market not as hot as before

Is there a more telling sign than this that the property market in China is not as exciting as before?

In Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region which is just a two hours’ flight from Hong Kong, a relatively unknown property developer hired half-nude models to sell apartments over the weekend.

No kidding. The smiling young ladies had nothing on their bodies but the logo of the property development painted on the front and the floor plans of the flats for sale on their backs.

It’s probably the developer Wei Run Investment’s way of telling clients that they’ve got nothing to hide and their products are there for everyone to see.

Needless to say, everyone in Nanning now knows about the new property development. And as to be expected, the local commercial bureau was inundated with complaints about the builder’s rather unorthodox sales presentation.

People wanted to know, in the first place, if the sales pitch is legitimate, to which the bureau replied that it is not fake – the property exists, and the apartments are indeed for sale. If they feel uncomfortable with the way the developer is selling its units, the bureau suggested, they could report the matter to the police.

A video of the racy sales blitz went viral on social media, with many netizens observing that the use of red-hot marketers only goes to show that the property market in China is not so hot anymore.

Over the last three years, the opening of a new property project in major urban centers, as well as lower-tier cities, usually ended up in pandemonium with buyers tripping over each other to snap up the available units. 

That was when the government tried to cool down the market by introducing limits to mortgage and restrictions on who can buy homes in certain areas.

Then the US-China trade war erupted, dampening investor confidence. During the National Day “Golden Week” holiday, normally a peak season for new home sales, developers struggled to maintain the same sales level they enjoyed in the same period last year. Some even had to cut prices by as much as 30 percent to entice prospective buyers.

The market chill is now affecting the share performance of mainland property developers.

Hong Kong is apparently in the same boat. Country Garden, the largest mainland developer by revenue, saw lukewarm response to its Altissimo venture in Ma On Shan. 

To save its first project in Hong Kong, the developer, which earned 412.5 billion yuan (US$59.46 billion) in the first half or an average of 2.28 billion yuan per day, had to offer more discounts, the latest by as much as 11 percent.

Perhaps it had to think of other ways to perk up sales. Would it dare to try topless models? 

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EJ Insight writer

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