Not censored

A clarification: Cao video was doctored


Cao Dewang: it wasn’t me

Last week, we mentioned that business tycoon Cao Dewang, the founder of Fuyao Glass, appeared in a livestream during which he warned young people against buying homes. We wrote that the livestream was cut short, likely due to the growing sense of unease around the stuttering property sector.

It was brought to our attention that Cao did not appear on the livestream or give any opinions about the property sector. The unauthorised footage was in fact taken from a speech Cao gave in 2021 at a virtual conference hosted by Tsinghua University on social responsibilities and was doctored by a Douyin user to make it appear that the tycoon had showed up on the live broadcast in real-time, giving opinions on the property market. We would like to clarify that Cao never appeared on the livestream and the quote was taken out of context. He was not censored, even though our article quoted netizens declaring he had been.

That said, the main thrust of last week’s article was the dire state of the housing market and that remains the case.

Making headlines this week was Country Garden, which reported the sharpest decline in its profits (down 96% in the first half to Rmb612 million) since the company listed its shares in 2007.

The country’s largest real estate developer by sales admitted that the situation in the local property market is the worst the company has ever witnessed.

“We are facing a bitter winter that we have never seen in the history of China housing,” said the company’s chief executive Mo Bin. “We are deeply sorry to our investors about the poor performance, and our management team will rethink and review profoundly.”

The developer is hopeful that the worst might be over, however. “We believe that the real estate industry is already at the bottom and we’ve seen some recovery already. There is still uncertainty about how long it will take to recover, but we believe by June next year we could see the housing sector back on a healthy track.”

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