The Way of Living is a Mirror of History
A Peaceful Reflection
The introspection on "Living changes China" has shown that China's real estate industry has started self-examination and summarization. This is an encouraging signal.
In this extensive discussion about reflecting, some are calm and reasonable, and of course, there are some reviewing every story of China's real estate market, especially in its initial stages with lens to detect the "original sins". But no viewpoint can deny that: the living revolution in Chinese cities has dramatically changed many in our life and brain, including the idea of wealth and consumption structure, living mode and culture, citizen accommodation and urbanization. It has profound and far-reaching in many aspects of our life.
More than 20 years ago, Chinese urban citizens were living in apartment buildings assigned by their "units". At that time, the popular slogan was government "arranges your life". People wait on the list to get an apartment. The arrangement is so rigid that no one dares to imagine what if the "unit" is gone.
But in 1980, the apartment allotment system began to loose. With the popular cry of "Housing should be commercialized", the 18 years of housing reform started as so. "Housing reform" and the changes in land policies provided firm foundation for China's real estate market, and also initialized the revolution of living lasting over 20 years.
In the beginning of the 90's, the historical opportunity and market force pushed the industry to the teeth of the storm. Different from the past, the investment tide was connected with personal housing issue for the first time. Some chaos was caused. The group "became rich first" finally found their own house. House, in the form of real estate, stimulates the nerves of traditional asset concept. It changed cultural form of cities and the way people lives. The traditional concept about assets was torn into pieces.
On the other hand, pushed by people's dream of "sweat home", the industry showed great power of growth. It became a strong commercial force to change people's living and shape city's appearance.
In 1998, housing allotment system was officially ended in China. This force started unprecedented exploration, undertaking and digesting the energy released by the end of housing allotment system. City became dynamic after the liberation of citizen's housing. No matter it is old city renewal or new district expansion, in the urbanization process of China, developers became more and more active. Residence has been the ultimate driving force.
All of these were engraved on the history of China's economic growth.
After over 10 years of growth, the industry has combined surprise, lament, disappointment, anger, rationality and many other moods. But in the whole picture, a clue was always clear, the living upgrade curve.
As for the residence product evolution stages in China, there are many versions. Mostly from "Ok to live in" to "comfortable to live in", and then the environment, psychological demand and human oriented were attended. There are others put it more directly as "dwelling", " home" or "house". The pace of living and time become more synchronized. China's residence is evolving toward maturity.
So it is fair to say that, the way of living is a mirror of history. Through it, the development route and the changing force of residence was embodied into vivid images. We can review its details from political, economic and cultural points of view.
Living changes Henan
Residence revolution in Henan passed a track similar to all in China.
Henan is remembered for its long history, ancient civilization, convenient traffic and large population. Judged by today's view, those factors are connected with residence. The provincial development strategy of CCRE is based on such considerations.
Henan is in the centre of China with a long lasting civilization and enriched history, being a regional miniature of China. It is a pivot of China's national traffic. Large amount of people travel in and out. A population of nearly 100 million is not to be neglected by anyone in the market. But for too long, especially before reform and opening, residence condition in central China was far from ideal. After reform and opening, residence condition in Henan lagged far behind the coastal provinces.
It was in the early 90's that real estate developers of market implication began to emerge in Henan. Since then, residence revolution in Henan started to be connected with the market. People in Henan have their "own" residence finally.
Today, the industry has made tremendous progress in Henan. Taking Zhengzhou as an example, there are 500 qualified developers, delivering millions square meter of residence to the market each year in great variety and with ever more unique features. In recent years, China's residence products have shown mixed styles: European style in Shanghai, Administrative in Beijing, Tropic in Guangzhou and coastal culture in Shenzhen. The rich cultural heritage and the broad mind of central China are destined to give unique hallmarks to residence products and culture in this region. Real estate in this region is trying to give up the simple copy approach, and started to focus on "style of its own".
After worries about "can't find a good house even with money at hand" being eliminated, the changing force of living is infiltrating into deeper territory of people's hearts.
At the same time, urbanization was advancing in cities, especially in provincial capital Zhengzhou. Developers were the driving force behind the trend. In 1999, when CCRE City Garden started construction, it was in the wild and far from the city centre. But in a few years, it became the main pillar and landmark in the east bound expansion of Zhengzhou. In the new run of city planning, especially after the initiation of Zhengdong new district at the east, City Garden is right on the central line of the city.
The amazing speed of urbanization is attributable to residence revolution with real estate as its core.
Pursuit and Mission
For too long, two ideas have been driving me: "Make CCRE an outstanding regional real estate developer" and "Build sweet home for all people in Henan Province". Frankly, the process is tough, but we made the first one, and the second is in steady progress.
The "Tycoon" or "Leader", praise from peers and the public is a spur for us, but also an objective view of our role in the process of "living changes Henan".
In May 1992, Central China Property Development Limited was born in alkaline land and grew. It was the first Sino-foreign jointly invested real estate developer in Henan. At that time, local professional real estate developer was rare. Since then, many "first times" were connected with CCRE: the first high-end community, Jinshui Garden and City Garden, the first to provider residence mortgage loan, the first real estate brand operator, the first high-end club, the first professional property manager to pass ISO9001, the first to combine elite education facilities, and so on.
CCRE grew at high speed in real estate circle, and rightfully undertook more responsibility.
CCRE developed Jinshui Garden, Chunhui Community, Yanle Community, Jianye Square and City Garden, over 1 million square meter of commodity residence, one tenth of total concurrent development in Zhengzhou. I hope we can keep the market share ten years from now.
There are varied interpretations about "Build sweet home for all people in Henan Province". I'm always of the opinion that developers undertake the responsibility to change the region. Connecting CCRE with the society, time, urbanization in Henan and city development, to "Build sweet home for all people in Henan Province" became the firm target and ideal of us, and a summon on our peers in this region. This is more than a slogan. Now CCRE is moving toward the goal with action.
Around 2000, many developers took the move to expansion across China. By the end of 2000, the fledged CCRE also faced three directions, one is to stay in Zhengzhou, one is to expand to other province, and the last is to "go down, go to small", namely rooted in Zhengzhou and penetrating to middle cities and towns in the province. After a year of study on the above three directions, we finally set "provincial development strategy" as our orientation for the next ten years. We plan to take two to three years to develop 3 million square meters of model communities in 20 cities in Henan, and 5 to 8 years to cover about 50 major towns, like Xinmi and Gongyi. Before 2010, we would complete the three-tier market structure covering middle sized city and major towns.
This decision was based on years of judgment on market: firstly, Henan has the largest population in China, with vast prospects of ordinary residence market; secondly, Zhengzhou has a comparatively small population, which means there are many middle sized cities in Henan; thirdly, though the province's per capital economic volume is relatively low, but traffic, especially expressways, is ranking high in China, which provides close connection between middle sized cities with Zhengzhou. Now that urbanization is an inevitable trend of China's development, real estate will be the sunrise industry in the 20 years to come and we have taken the vantage point in Henan, there is no reason why we shouldn't go on, root ourselves in central China, and bring real estate down to regions.
Presently, our projects in Puyang, Shangqiu, Xinxiang, Sanmenxia, Nanyang, Zhumadian and other cities are progressing smoothly with high efficiency. Market reaction is extremely positive. CCRE has become the benchmark for secondary market of real estate in Henan.
Doubtlessly, governments are the main driver behind urban construction, but developers are dutifully playing an important role. I have said in many occasions that the role of developers is to implement the urban construction and residence building policies set by government, and to realize people's expectations. In this sense, developers are participants and driving force as well. All cultural and ideological progress is based on material. Developers are receiving more recognition from the society.
In cities, developers change the form of living by products they offer. As the forerunner of the industry, we have to undertake more responsibility in the process of upgrading and modifying living environment in central China. There is more effort to be paid.