Hong Kong property giants deny Beijing is ramping up pressure on industry to fix city’s housing woes, following reports of officials losing patience

Hong Kong’s biggest property developers have denied coming under pressure from mainland Chinese officials to solve the city’s housing woes, following reports that Beijing is losing patience with the industry.

The Real Estate Developers Association also stressed that its membership, which includes Sun Hung Kai Properties, Henderson Land Development and CK Asset Holdings, were continuing to support the Hong Kong government in boosting housing supply and improving living standards.

The association’s executive committee, comprising more than a dozen top industry figures, released a statement on Friday following a regular meeting that lasted more than 1½ hours.

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“The [executive committee] discussed a foreign media report about mainland officials expressing concern with Hong Kong’s housing problems,” the statement read.

“The committee members clarify that they have never heard of such news, nor has the association.”

It added the association had over the years worked with the government and across wider society to tackle issues relating to housing supply, the economy and people’s livelihoods. Members would “definitely continue to dedicate their full support” to the government in these areas, the statement added.

Last Friday, Reuters reported that Beijing officials had told a number of property tycoons in a closed-door meeting to throw their resources and influence behind central government efforts to ease the city’s housing problems.

They were quoted as saying “the rules of the games have changed” and that Beijing would no longer tolerate “monopoly behaviour”. The report did not specify when the meeting was held.

Keith Kerr (left), president of the board of directors at the Real Estate Developers Association, and Louis Loong (right), the association’s secretary general, meet the media on Friday. Photo: May Tse

Asked whether the report was dialling up the pressure on developers, Louis Loong, secretary general of the association said: “We haven’t heard of that before, so I cannot see any pressure at the moment.”

Attendees at Friday’s meeting included: Adam Kwok Kai-fai, executive director of Sun Hung Kai Properties; Stewart Leung Chi-kin, chairman of the association’s executive committee; David Choi Wun-hing, Chinachem’s chief executive officer; Victor Tin, group associate director at Sino Land, Ricky Wong Kwong-yiu, director of Wheelock and Company; Augustine Wong Ho-ming, executive director of Henderson Land Development; Lam Ho-yi, senior vice-president of Lai Sun Group; and Abraham Shek Lai-him, legislator representing the real estate and construction sector.

CK Asset Holdings and New World Development also sent their delegates.

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