Beijing is not "suppressing" developers: Shih Wing-ching

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Claims that Beijing is suppressing local property giants are "exaggerated”, the founder of Centaline Property Shih Wing-ching said.

The central government was only seeking support and cooperation from developers for more efficient housing policies, he said on radio today (Wed).

Shih's remarks came after Reuters' report over the weekend that Beijing officials met with developers, during which property tycoons were told to do more to help solve the city's housing shortage.

The report also said tycoons were warned monopoly will no longer be tolerated.

On Monday stock prices of the city's five major developers plunged with Henderson Land going down by as much as 13 percent.

The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong chairman Leung Chi-kin said he did not hear abut such meetings. The association will have a meeting this Friday to discuss the report.

Speaking on a radio program this morning, Shih said developers have played a big part in Hong Kong's housing supply and it is normal for Beijing to seek cooperation from them to tackle such shortage.

But he believed Beijing has no reason to “corner” developers.

Shih said the government's slow processing of applications for developing farm land and the high premiums it demanded made such developments slow.

He supports restructuring of the Town Planning Board to make it put increasing housing supply as its top priority when approving changes of land use.