Real Estate

To some foreign companies, doing business in China is very difficult. Besides the language and cultural difference, the concerns facing foreign businesses may range from the not-so-transparent laws and regulations, the bureaucratic agencies, to the complicated taxation system. Despite these problems, China has made a huge progress forward since it opened its door to the outside world in late 1970's and embraced a market-oriented economy after being ruled under the central controlled system for almost 30 years. Few people in China would have thought about owing their homes ten years ago.

Now, with a private home ownership approaching to 60 percent in urban area, China is perhaps the most successful country in the world to have developed a private housing market in such a short period of time. This article is intended to help foreign-based real estate practitioners better understand China and the Chinese market. Issues such as China's economic development, WTO's accession, laws/regulations, mortgages/loans, business forms, government agencies, and taxation system, etc. are addressed along with some statistical data from various resources.

The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping liked to say: "touching the stones while crossing the river" if you have no idea of how deep the water is. China, like other emerging economies is a challenging place for foreign companies due to some uncertainties and barriers. Without necessary knowledge and preparations before entering into China, prospective foreign companies may run risk of failure. On the other hand, China is also a huge market filled with promises and potentials with its one-fifth of the world's population and fast-growing economy. China is the only economy that recorded over 7 percent increase for the first 6 months of 2002 while other major economies are either in recession or slowing down. China's WTO entry at the end of 2001 will surely inspire more hope and generate many opportunities that are needed in this globally downward economy.

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