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Strong response in China to property investment claims

Strong response in China to property investment claims

Social media sites and news agencies in China are running hot with feedback in reaction to suggestions overseas-based Chinese investors have an undue influence on the Auckland property market.

Associate Professor Dr Henry Chung from Massey’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, who has been studying the Chinese market for more than 20 years, says reaction in China has been “huge”. He says responses on its equivalent search engine to Google have multiplied since the release of figures by the Labour Party claiming foreign speculators were fuelling Auckland’s over heated housing market.

In the last 24 hours he says the Chinese website Baidu had recorded 86 related results for the story. It was also extensively reported in national news media such as Xinhua News and CCTV and regional news media in the Lianing province and Hainang Province in the north and south of China respectively.

Mr Chung says aside from the party’s interpretation of data being widely questioned in China, locally, many Chinese resident in New Zealand and traditionally supportive of Labour, were reconsidering their allegiance.

“Traditionally a lot of Chinese people are strong and loyal supporters of the New Zealand Labour Party.

They like a lot of what the party stands for, however a lot of people feel let down and wish the Labour Party had communicated with the Chinese community before going to the media,” Mr Chung says.

The data released by the Labour Party showed that between February and April, 39.5 per cent of Auckland house sales were to buyers with Chinese surnames, despite people of Chinese ethnicity making up just nine per cent of the population.

A sample of reports from Chinese media challenged the stated percentage believing it was more likely to be in the region of five to eight per cent as estimated by real estate agent Barfoot &Thompson.

The Chinese Herald described the figures as a “deep water bomb to New Zealand society and especially the Chinese community”, while the news agency Xinhua could not agree with the Labour Party’s findings “because it is not possible to confirm the real originality of these buyers”.

Mr Chung, who is originally from Taiwan and is based at Massey’s Auckland campus, says it must be remembered that many other people born in Asia, including Koreans and Malaysians, shared surnames such as his own with Chinese people.


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