Changing China

Giant on the move

Landlords cash in on tourist influx

April 2, 2008

All the tourists, athletes, journalists and other hangers-on flooding to Beijing for the Games need a place to stay, and with hotels already filling up fast, some landlords are more than just rubbing their hands at the prospect of a little extra cash.      

One friend is desperately hunting for a new apartment after her landlord said her rent would jump nine times if she wanted to renew her contract this summer.

CHINESE WORKER ADDS LAST TOUCHES TO NEW APARTMENT BUILDING IN BEJING.Others are also on the market after slightly less avaricious, but still illegal and crippling increases to their monthly housing bill.      

Beijing is worried greedy businesses could ruin the image of the Games and so hotels and restaurants have mostly promised to cap rates at high but just about reasonable levels.      

But private landlords are bound by no such promises — and many are determined to get rid of the tenants currently blocking them from claiming the Olympic jackpot.      

The only possible consolation for those squeezed out by greedy landlords is that their former homes may end up like the hotel rooms in Athens which sat empty during the last Olympics
because of sky-high prices.

The increase in rents is not bad for all Beijingers though — and some of those who own their properties or have more reasonable landlords are getting in on the moneymaking themselves.      

Property pages are scattered with ads for Olympic rentals.      

And one friend has managed to hawk out his two bedroom apartment — usual rent about $1,000 a month — for $2,000 a night. More than enough to keep him and the landlord happy,
though he might not be offering to share.

Picture by Reuters/stringer


I just rented an apartment to stay in Beijing for the next 6 months. Of course landlords wanted more because of the Olympics, but I still think I got a good deal. Still seems to be more apartments available than tenants. I think there will be a lot of disappointed landlords and businesses looking to cash in on the Olympics.


That the Olympics forces hard working people out of their home so that some rich sports fan or event junkies can have a place to crash is sick but natural. What else could these greedy landlords do?

Why are the Olympic Games in China? Their human rights aren’t exactly normal. Why highlight that country? Is it that we don’t care as long as the corporations are raking it in.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

This seems awfully short sighted on the part of the land lords. They are going to make their fast money, but then they will have an empty house likely damaged, depending on who rents it.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I live here in Beijing, and some of my friends have been hit with a 12% or more increase on their rent this year.
I have also heard some horror stories of people not even been able to renew their contract. I hope that the landlords can’t fill these homes during, and especially after the games.

Posted by Travis | Report as abusive

The greed started some moths back with many of my friends and colleagues being forced out of their down town apartments, but it has not ended there, for those who live and work in Beijing we are all on the verge of being removed from Beijing along with the local Chinese floating population. We have been advised our visas will expire as of July 31st unless we have tickets to the games.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

what a load of ordure….I’ve been in China for the last several years.. found last Xmas that in Beijing the prices were at least 400% higher than just 3 years ago for “Foreigner Approved” hotels and their resturants above their normal high rates.. at open markets as high as 600% for gift items.(I paid 25rmb/ea for decorative gift items that 6 other merchants told me 260rmb/ea or 280/rmb…for Westerners the $30us would be ok..but.. remembering.. 1rmb for most products in China has the same buying power as the $1us in America. 3rmb will buy Western favorites such as a bottle of Coke, Pepsi, juices. 5rmb for a large bottle of local beer, 600ml size. But, a local Hamburg–about the size of a bagle with finely chopped pork with Au only 1.5 to 2rmb) Further.. I was in QingDao/TsingTao City last summer and the same conditions apply… only the Foreign Tourist attractions, sourveigners and accomodations have been changed. Many of the locals voiced their concerns and surprise at this orchestrated and overt “GREED” but.. they are just a small person and must sadly endure what their Countrymen show to the World. Some Locals seem to must be ok to Cheat the Foreigners much more than usual as portrayed by the “business methods” of their Pristine Business Constituents who directly invite the Olympics and all Foreign customers … “Cheating”, or as they call all sales (foods, necessities of daily living, gifts, etc…)is the way of life for most Chinese. Fake products are also so deeply entrenched that most Locals can’t determine the differences.. tooth paste to Brand Name Clothes. Foreigners are super easy Targits! (Most Local Chinese do NOT seek or can NOT often afford such places.. even they can easily afford.. most Business people chose such hotels were common price is only about 140 to 260rmb/night. Not Western prices of $240us or 1,824rmb!) Oh..and Knock-offs are now being confiscated by Customs Agents in American and Europe..maybe others.. be AWARE.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Dear British mates, as John said, you need to know the skills of bargaining in China, otherwise you will spend a lot more money. Most of Chinese merchants in the markets like to mark the price much higher than its normal price, it gives a lot space for the customers to show their ‘skills’. If you are not comfortable with that, just go to a supermarket or department store to ‘save’ money. I think it is quite natural to raise the price for the Olympics, demand and supply…But it shouldn’t be too ridiculous.

Many people like to accuse China for human rights abuse like Paul mate. I have to say, if you compare the human rights of an ordinary Chinese and an ordinary British, yours is a lot better,(as you can attempt to grab the Olympic torch without facing serious charges or maybe no charges at all).And it will take many years for the Chinese to catch up or it may never happen. The reason is Chinese and British have been living in quite different societies with very different cultural and point of view. There are a lot of reasons behind this, such as the 2000 years fudal system which may still exist in China if not because of the invasion by many “great” countries in WWII. Also the nature of Chinese people. But this is all changing, if you compare the human rights now in China with what it was like 30 years ago, there has been a significant improvement. But still, this is not enough.

This Olympics game is really a great opportunity for the Western people to go to China and understand China which I am sure is completely different from the impression you get from BBC.

I don’t like to say that we should seperate politics from sport.Olympics has been used as a political and marketing tool for many years (check out how much US earned when they held it in 1984). China is using it to promote itself, its cultural and civilization and to boost its economy. But you have to admit that countries like US are using it to attack Chinese government too, because some people in these countries’ government regard China as a major threat. This is normal, as they are politicians, it is their job to do so. But I don’t really understand why some people blindly get involved without even knowing where Tibet is, without even hearing from the voice of the real Tibetans and without even knowing whether the Chinese people are grateful to the ‘efforts’ to improve their human rights. The world should be more united rather than seperated, why EU is electing a president? Because it gives benefits to all of the members (but may not be true in reality).

Takes this great opportunity to visit China, visit Beijing or maybe even Tibet if possible. Olympics should be a game for the whole world, that is why this Olympics theme is: “One World, One Dream”.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by Yin | Report as abusive

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