A Q&A guide to corporate real estate law in China.
The Q&A gives a high level overview of the corporate real estate market trends; real estate investment structures, including REITs; legislation; title and public registers of title; confidential information; state guarantee of title; tenure; sale of real estate; seller's liability; due diligence; warranties; cost; taxes and mitigation, including VAT and stamp duty/transfer tax; climate change targets; third party outsourcing; restrictions on foreign ownership or occupation; finance; leases; planning law and consents; and proposals for reform.
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This Q&A is part of the PLC multi-jurisdictional guide to corporate real estate law. For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit www.practicallaw.com/realestate-mjg.
Over the last 12 months, the government continued to implement an array of policies attempting to control property prices in the People's Republic of China (PRC). These policies include (among other things):
Tightening bank credits.
Increasing the supply of low-cost housing.
Imposing penalties against holders of idle land.
Imposing restrictions on non-residents purchasing real estate.
The real estate market has experienced a difficult time. Local government income from the grant of land use rights has decreased greatly, causing severe financial difficulties for local governments. Due to the depressed real estate market, the Chinese economy is unable to maintain growth at a high rate. The People's Bank of China (the central bank of the PRC) has cut interest rates twice, in both June and July 2012. However, there are no signs indicating that the above policies will be eased.
The biggest deal in 2011 was a purchase of use rights to a land parcel in Chongqing by a foreign invested enterprise, at about CNY6.536 billion (as at 1 September 2012, US$1 was about CNY6.3).
In China, the most commonly used structures for real estate investment are either through direct or indirect share/equity acquisition (including the cross-border deal) of a company holding the real estate or through direct assets acquisition.
REITs have generated a lot of interest but so far have not yet been approved by the PRC government (except for a few experimental cases).
Institutional investors can participate in the real estate market in many ways, including establishing:
A wholly-owned real estate project company in China.
A joint venture project company with a partner in China.
A company or limited liability partnership (LLP) to control the shares of the project company.
Private investors can invest in real estate in China through a company. In that way, they are no different from institutional investors.
Individuals can purchase residential property if they satisfy certain criteria.
The main real estate legislation is as follows:
Constitution of the PRC (as amended in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004).
General Principles of Civil Law (came into force in 1987).
Property Rights Law of the PRC (came into force in 2007).
Urban Real Estate Administration Law of the PRC (as amended in 2009).
Land Administration Law of the PRC (as amended in 2004).
Opinions of the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission, People's Bank of China, State Administration for Industry and Commerce and State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Regulating the Entry of Foreign Investment into the Real Property Market and the Administration Thereof (Circular 171, which came into force on 11 June 2006).
There is no legal definition of what constitutes real estate in the PRC.
Land in the PRC is owned either by the state or by the collectives, generally depending on its location. A collective is generally an unincorporated group of peasants in a village or town. The law allows land use rights of state-owned land to be granted through compensatory grant (that is, for a fee, known as a "land grant fee") to individuals, enterprises or organisations. The compensatory grant of land use right of a piece of state-owned land, together with any property erected upon it, can be bought and sold, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of as the owner sees fit. Although there is another type of land use right (that is, allocated land use right), since only the compensatory grant of land use right of a piece of state-owned land can be freely transferred in law, that land use right, together with any property erected upon the land, are considered to constitute real estate from an investor's perspective.
Title to real estate is registered in different ways depending on the locality. In some places, such as Shanghai, the register for the titles of the land use right and the buildings are unified, and in other regions, such as Beijing, the registers for the titles of the land use right and the buildings are kept separately.
Title to real estate is evidenced by registration, which is done either in a registry which unifies both title to land and title to buildings, or in two registries which separately keep registers for title to land and title to buildings, depending on the locality. The registries are under the government's control.
Title is also evidenced by title certificates issued by the relevant authority, but in the event of conflict between the contents of the register and those of the title certificate, the register prevails.
The main information in the public register of title includes:
The term or tenure of the land use right.
The area of the building.
The location of the land use right.
The kind of structure of the building (for example, reinforced concrete).
The permitted usage.
The owners' name.
The completion date.
In addition, the register should also contain information on:
Any applicable mortgage.
Any applicable lease.
Any objections to the title registered.
Any restrictions applicable to the title registered.
Original transaction documents are also registered in the register but they are generally not available for inspection. In certain circumstances the search of a public register is not permitted without the owner's consent.
Confidential information or documents can be protected from disclosure in the public register, except to the extent that disclosure is required by the title owner or the judicial institutions of China (including the police, the court or the procuratorate).
There is no state guarantee of title in the PRC although the state can be liable for direct loss to an innocent party arising from erroneous registration or unlawful registration by a registry.
Title insurance is extremely rare, if it exists at all, in the PRC.
The land use right of state-owned land is held for the following terms of years, depending on its land usage:
Up to 70 years for residential land use right.
Up to 50 years for industrial, education, technology, hospital and sports land use right.
Up to 40 years for commercial, tourism and entertainment land use right.
Up to 50 years for mixed-use land use right.
The sale of real estate can generally involve three different types of transactions:
Direct or indirect sale and purchase of equity/shares in a company holding the real estate (equity transaction).
Direct sale and purchase of real estate before construction of the real estate is completed and an ownership certificate is issued to its developer where a pre-sale permit regarding the real estate has been issued to its developer (pre-sale transaction).
Direct sale and purchase of real estate after construction of the real estate is completed and an ownership certificate has been issued to its developer, or direct sale and purchase of real estate from any subsequent owner deriving title from the developer (sale transaction).
Common marketing methods include telemarketing, network marketing, exhibition, and so on, either by the seller or through real estate agents.
Commercial negotiation is conducted throughout every stage in a sale of real estate involving non-binding documents (for example, a letter of intent), right up to the conclusion of a binding sale and purchase agreement.
Non-binding, or sometimes binding, letters of intent or memoranda of understanding are often used to set out pre-contractual arrangements, including, among other things:
Exclusivity periods that are applicable.
Method of calculation of the purchase price.
Due diligence arrangements.
There is no hard and fast rule as to when a sale contract is executed in any equity transaction or sale transaction. In a pre-sale transaction, the contract is called a pre-sale contract, and no pre-sale contract can be signed before a pre-sale permit is issued by the relevant government authority.
Generally, both the seller and the buyer are legally bound on execution of a binding sale and purchase agreement for the target real estate.
If the deal is structured as an equity transaction, the parties are not required to register the transfer of the equity/share in the PRC if the subject matter is equity/shares in a foreign company. In the event of a transfer of equity/share in a PRC company, the parties must register the change of ownership of the equity/share within 30 days of the transfer with the local Administration of Industry and Commerce.
In a pre-sale transaction, an application for registration must be submitted within 90 days after the developer delivers possession to the buyer.
In a sale transaction, no time limit is set for the registration of the transfer of title if the seller is not a developer, although in practice a time limit is often agreed in the sale and purchase agreement. In the event that the seller is a developer, registration of the transfer of title must be submitted within 90 days after the signing of the sale and purchase agreement.
In an equity transaction, the moment at which the title of the shares is transferred, is governed by the law of the place of incorporation of the company whose shares are being transferred. In the event of a transfer of equity/share in a PRC company, the transfer is effective on completion of the sale and purchase of the shares. Failure to register the transfer with the local Administration of Industry and Commerce will not render the transfer void, but the transfer will not be binding on any bona fide third party.
In both the pre-sale transaction and sale transaction, title transfer is legally completed only by entering the transfer on the register in the relevant registry. The parties must submit, among other things, the pre-sale agreement or the sale and purchase duly signed by both the seller and the buyer.
If one or both parties to an agreement are foreign individuals or entities, notarisation and legalisation (a special attestation procedure required in the PRC) can also be required for other relevant documents, for example, the corporate documents of the foreign party.
A seller is under the following main statutory obligations vis-à-vis a buyer:
The seller must be the owner of the subject matter of the sale, or otherwise entitled to dispose of the subject matter.
The subject matter of the sale must be capable of transfer. Its transfer must not be prohibited or restricted by:
law or any other administrative decree;
any judgment, or asset seizure order or other restrictive orders.
The sale must have the consent of any co-owners (where applicable).
The subject matter of the sale must have been duly valued and the sale approved if the subject matter is state-owned property.
If the subject matter of the sale is under a lease, a prior notice of the sale must be served to the lessee and a waiver of the right of first refusal to purchase must be obtained from the lessee.
If the subject matter of the sale is under a mortgage, the seller must inform the buyer of the mortgage and inform the lender of the proposed sale.
In addition to the statutory obligations above, there are other contractual obligations owed to a buyer (for example, the full payment of management fees, utility fees, and so on). The contractual obligations vary depending on the facts of each case and the relative bargaining position of the parties.
In a complex real estate transaction, typical due diligence includes legal, financial and technical due diligence, which is completed by different groups of professionals with different expertise.
A property search with the competent public authorities is usually completed as a first step of the legal due diligence on title.
Due diligence generally involves the following (to a greater or lesser degree depending on the complexity of the transaction):
Ensuring the seller has a valid and clear title to the target real estate.
Identifying any encumbrances on the target real estate.
Ensuring the proper construction of the target real estate.
Investigating any environmental issues.
In the event that the sale and purchase is structured as an equity transaction, there will be additional due diligence on the company whose shares are the subject matter of the sale and purchase.
In both pre-sale transactions and sale transactions, a seller generally warrants in respect of the property itself, unless otherwise disclosed, that:
The seller lawfully owns the target real estate.
The target real estate is not subject to any mortgage or other encumbrance.
The target real estate is in a good state of repair and condition.
Either vacant possession is given on completion or the target real estate is under tenancy, in which case the particulars of the tenancy are warranted.
Subject to negotiation, if the seller is also the developer of the target real estate, the construction of the target real estate has complied with all relevant laws and regulations of the national and local competent authorities.
In an equity transaction, the usual warranties commonly found in share/equity transactions are required. Some typical warranties required of the seller in an equity transaction are set out below:
The seller has full capacity to enter into the sale and purchase agreement for the target shares/equity.
The seller lawfully owns the target shares/equity.
The target shares/equity is not subject to any undisclosed pre-emptive right, right of first refusal, encumbrance or other right or restriction.
The property owner company whose shares/equity is to be transacted does not have undisclosed liabilities.
The precise nature of the warranties to be included ultimately depends on the relative bargaining power of the two parties.
The owner or occupier of a property does not normally inherit liability for matters relating to real estate if they occurred before it bought or occupied it, although there are some exceptions to this general rule:
Liability in contract. The owner or occupier of a property can, by contract, expressly assume this liability. A common example is where a new owner agrees in the sale and purchase agreement to pay all outstanding management fees incurred before they become the owner or occupier.
Statutory liability. Liability can be expressly stated in statute imposing liability relating to real estate on a person notwithstanding the fact that the liability might have arisen prior to them becoming an owner or occupier. There are not many instances under law where this kind of liability arises. One of the few examples where the liability does arise is where a real estate has an illegal structure. The purchaser of the real estate is liable for removing the illegal structure notwithstanding the fact that the illegal structure was erected by their predecessor in title. Another example is where there is hazardous material in a real estate which continues to pose a danger to the other users of the land or its neighbours. The new owner can be liable even though it was the predecessor in title who used the hazardous material.
Other liability in tort. An owner or occupier is generally not liable in tort for wrongful acts committed by a previous owner before they became the owner or occupier of a real estate (unless that liability is expressly included in statute).
A seller or occupier's liability concerning the real estate usually ceases after the seller has transferred title of the property, or the occupier has vacated the property, except in the following situations:
Liability in contract. There can be contractual obligations imposed on the seller or occupier that survive the transfer of title or vacation of the property. A good example is a breach of warranties in a pre-sale agreement or a sale and purchase agreement, where the seller remains liable even though title has been transferred. The limitation period for breach of contract is two years from the day the innocent party becomes aware of the breach. For the occupier, a tenant's breach of the terms of its tenancy agreement will survive despite the fact that the tenant has vacated the property under the tenancy.
In the event that the seller is not a developer, it remains liable for any latent defects in the property in the event that they have knowledge of the defects but have failed to make proper disclosure to the purchaser.
Statutory liability. This liability is expressly stated in statute and imposes liability relating to real estate on a person after they cease to be an owner or occupier. For example, where a property contains hazardous material, the person who put in that hazardous material is liable despite the fact that it has transferred its title (as owner) or vacated the property (as occupier).
Where the seller is a developer, it remains liable at law for the construction defects of the property after the transfer of title.
Other liability in tort. Any liability in tort (that is not specifically contained in a statute) already incurred before the transfer of title or vacation of the property will still be borne by the seller or occupier after the transfer of title or vacation of the property. The applicable statute of limitations differs depending on the tortious acts.
What costs are to be borne by a buyer is a matter for negotiation between the parties. The usual costs include the following:
Taxes due that are usually paid by the buyer include stamp duty and deed tax.
What costs are to be borne by a seller is a matter for negotiation between the parties. The usual costs include the following:
Taxes due that are usually paid by the seller include stamp duty, business tax, land appreciation tax and enterprise income tax.
Land VAT is payable on the sale of real estate. It is also sometimes referred to as the "land appreciation tax". It is payable by the seller.
Land VAT is levied on the value added through the sale of real estate. Value added is calculated as the difference between the amount of the income derived from the sale and the amount of certain deductible items.
The rates of land VAT are progressive, depending on the extent of the value added:
For the portion of the value added amount that is no more than 50% of the amount of the deductible items, the rate is 30%.
For the portion of the value added amount that is more than 50% of the amount of the deductible items but no more than 100% of the amount of the deductible items, the rate is 40%.
For the portion of the value added amount that is more than 100% of the amount of the deductible items but no more than 200% of the amount of the deductible items, the rate is 50%.
For the portion of the value added amount that is more than 200% of the amount of the deductible items, the rate is 60%.
There are certain exemptions from land VAT, and the common ones are:
Transfers of ordinary standard residential buildings (excluding luxury apartments, villas and holiday resorts) if the value added is less than 20% of total deductions.
Where, as part of a merger between two or more enterprises, one enterprise assigns real estate to another enterprise participating in that merger (this is a temporary exemption from land VAT).
Where one party contributes land, another party contributes funds and the two parties co-operate in the construction of buildings, there is a temporary exemption from land VAT when the completed buildings are allocated between the two parties for self-use.
When real estate is used as capital contribution into a real estate enterprise or contributed by a real estate enterprise, no exemption applies; otherwise, an exemption may apply.
Stamp duty is payable on the sale and purchase agreement. The rate is 0.05% of the contract price, payable by each party. Taxpayers are required to calculate the amount of the stamp duty and to purchase and attach duty stamps to the taxable document. Duty stamps should be attached to taxable documents when they are drawn up or received. If a contract is signed outside China, stamp duty should be paid when it is implemented in China.
Business tax and a surcharge are payable on the sale of real estate. The transferor pays, and the combined rate is 5.5% of the transfer price. Where a transferor contributes real estate in exchange for equity interest, that capital contribution will not be subject to business tax.
Deed tax is payable on the sale of real estate. It is paid by the buyer, and the rate is 3% to 5% depending on the location of the property. Deed tax is exempted in mergers and demergers.
Some developers have tried to retain a portion of the property so that they do not have to make a final settlement of land VAT. Some developers have tried to pay land VAT according to a deemed rate that they negotiated with the tax bureau. However, the enforcement of land VAT has become increasingly strict.
While there are not any specific targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, the Energy Construction Design Standards for Civil Buildings (Heating Residential Buildings) released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the PRC, which came into force on 1 July 1996, stipulates the relevant minimum energy efficiency criteria for certain buildings.
Generally, it is not common for large property holding companies to outsource as these companies can use their own affiliates to deal with these matters. Of course, there are some other companies, which are usually small and medium-sized companies, using professional property managers to manage their real estate portfolios.
At present only foreign individuals working or studying in China for a term exceeding one year can purchase one residential property in China for their own personal use. For corporations, only a foreign corporation's branch or representative office in China can purchase non-residential property for its own business use in the city where that branch or representative office is registered.
All foreign companies or individuals seeking to invest in real estate in China must establish a company in the PRC to carry out the investment activities.
There are generally no other restrictions on foreign ownership or occupation of real estate.
The change of control of a PRC company does not affect its title to real estate as the ownership of the real estate is vested in, and registered under the name of, the company itself and not the shareholder(s). However, it is important to note that in some circumstances, change of control requires the approval of the relevant government authorities (for example, the Ministry of Commerce or its local branch office). At present, there are quite stringent approval requirements in respect of both:
Equity transfer of a foreign invested real estate enterprise (that is, a company established in the PRC by foreign investor(s) engaged in real estate construction, operation and development).
Merger and acquisition of a domestic real estate enterprise by foreign investor(s).
For business premises on state-owned land, the Regulations on the Expropriation of and Compensation for Premises on State-owned Land (Regulations) issued by the State Council, which came into force on 21 January 2011, provide that for public interest purposes, the municipal or county authorities have the power to expropriate premises on state-owned land and the owner of the premises will be compensated fairly.
The Regulations do not clearly define the term public interest but only set out a non-exhaustive list of the circumstances that constitute public interest:
The needs of national defence and diplomacy.
The needs of infrastructure organised and carried out by the government.
The needs of public utilities organised and carried out by the government.
The needs of the construction of low income housing projects organised and carried out by the government.
The needs of reconstruction of an old town organised and carried out by the government under the Law of Urban and Rural Planning.
Other circumstances constituting public interest provided for by law and administrative regulations.
Under the Regulations, compensation for the value of the premises to be expropriated must not be lower than the market price of premises similar to those to be expropriated.
There are generally no municipal taxes paid on the occupation of business premises.
In the case of an equity transaction whether involving equity/shares in a foreign company or a PRC domestic company (Target Company), there is very little limitation, as far as the law is concerned, as to how a foreign investor should finance that purchase. The investor may wish to finance by way of equity financing or by way of debt financing or both.
In the case of debt financing, the following should be noted:
Any assets owned by either the Target Company (in the event that it is a PRC company), or any of its PRC subsidiaries cannot generally be used as security under PRC law because of the foreign exchange control rules currently in place.
The equity in the Target Company if it is a PRC company can be pledged as security under PRC law.
The usual way of financing these types of asset acquisition is by way of bank financing supported by a mortgage on the asset and, if required, further security, for example, a pledge of the equity/shares in the purchaser and/or guarantee provided by the its parent company.
Real estate is generally used as a security in the form of a mortgage in favour of the lender. Proceeds, for example, the proceeds of sale and rent, can also be pledged as security for debt financing.
A mortgage over real estate is the most commonly used collateral in raising finance for real estate. In addition, the proceeds generated from real estate, for example, rental and sale proceeds, can be pledged to a lender to secure debt financing. Both a mortgage and a pledge can be created by way of contract in writing and perfected through registration with the appropriate land/property registry (for a mortgage) or with the credit reference centre of the PRC central bank (for a pledge of rental and sale proceeds in the form of account receivables).
There have been only a few instances of mortgage-backed security (MBS) relating to home mortgage loans on a trial basis. It is fair to say that real estate securitisation has never matured in the PRC. Another popular form of securitisation, REITs, have been debated for a long time, but have so far yet to be approved by the PRC government, except in a few isolated trial cases.
Contractual lease provisions are freely negotiable, unless those provisions are provided for by law. For example, the maximum duration of a lease, which is 20 years. A landlord must ensure the safety of the leased premises and the facilities inside it provided by the landlord.
There are no special legal requirements on the format of the lease, which is usually in writing and signed by the landlord and the tenant. An oral lease is also legally permitted, although this is not common. In some cities, a standard form lease in writing prescribed by the local authority must be adopted when the lease is submitted to the relevant local authority for lease registration, but the landlord and tenant are allowed to amend the provisions of that standard form lease.
There are no restrictions on the rent level or on the way in which the rent level is reviewed. Rent levels are usually determined by the landlord and the tenant by agreement based on market price. The landlord and the tenant can agree the rent review mechanism in the lease. In some cases, a third party may be brought in to help to determine the rent level.
A business tax and a surcharge are payable by the landlord on rental income, and the combined rate is generally 5.5%.
There is no typical length of lease term but the term of a lease cannot exceed 20 years. There is no security of tenure for a tenant of business premises.
National law does not grant a tenant the right to renew the lease at the end of the contractual lease term. However, some local regulations (for example, in Shanghai and Zhejiang) provide that a tenant has a pre-emptive right to renew the lease on the same conditions that the landlord is offering to other potential tenants, which applies to both business premises and residential premises.
A tenant has no right to assign or sublet the lease without the landlord's express consent, unless there are provisions contained in the lease which allow the tenant to do so.
A tenant is not allowed to share its leased business premises with companies in the same group without the landlord's consent. Further, under the PRC rule that each company must have its own address, which cannot be shared with another company, where premises are shared between several companies, they must be physically demarcated into separate addresses for each company.
The landlord is responsible for keeping the leased premises in good repair unless the lease provides otherwise. In practice, the repair obligation is set out in the lease and provides which party has the responsibility to keep the premises in good repair.
The law does not expressly provide who is responsible for insuring the leased premises. In practice, the landlord insures the building and structure and the tenant insures the tenant-installed fixtures and movables inside the premises.
A landlord has the right to terminate the lease in the following circumstances:
An event of force majeure occurs which renders the lease incapable of being realised.
The tenant unilaterally changes the main structure of the building or exceeds the loading limits of the leased premises, and fails to reinstate the premises to its original state within a reasonable notice period given by the landlord.
The tenant sublets the lease without the landlord's consent.
The tenant fails to pay, or delays in paying, any rent due without reasonable grounds after the landlord has given a reasonable notice period.
The tenant uses the leased premises for purposes not agreed in the lease or causes damage to the leased premises.
The parties can also agree other circumstances which trigger termination in the lease agreement.
A tenant has the right to terminate the lease in the following circumstances:
An event of force majeure occurs which renders the lease incapable of being realised.
The landlord fails to deliver the leased premises to the tenant as agreed after the tenant has given a reasonable notice period.
All or part of the leased premises are damaged or lost due to a reason not attributable to the tenant which renders the lease incapable of being realised.
The leased premises become dangerous to the safety or health of the tenant.
The leased premises are seized by the authorities, or there is a dispute over the title of the leased premises, or the leasing of the premises is in violation of mandatory legal provisions, each of which renders the leased premises incapable of use by the tenant.
The parties can also agree other circumstances which trigger termination in the lease agreement.
Under general contract terms, the tenant's insolvency usually leads to the termination of the lease, with the forfeiture of the tenant's security deposit which is paid as liquidated damages.
Under the PRC Enterprise Bankruptcy Law issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which came into force on 1 June 2007, after a petition for a debtor's bankruptcy is accepted by a court, the bankruptcy administrator has the right to decide whether to terminate or continue to perform a contract entered into before bankruptcy, where performance of that contract has not yet been completed. The bankruptcy administrator can therefore exercise its right to terminate a lease in the event of the tenant's bankruptcy.
Generally speaking, the central and local planning authorities supervise and regulate planning control, and the Urban and Rural Planning Law of the PRC, which came into force on 1 January 2008, applies.
The following planning consents apply to all types of real estate development:
Development Land Planning Permit (Jian She Yong Di Gui Hua Xu Ke Zheng) is granted to the land use right owner after the compensatory grant is signed, which sets out the details of the planning requirements in respect of the land lot under the compensatory grant.
Development Project Planning Permit (Jian She Gong Cheng Gui Hua Xu Ke Zheng) is granted to the land use right owner after the owner has submitted the detailed architect designs.
There is generally no initial consent. The competent department of urban and rural planning under the people's government of a city or county will grant the Construction Land Planning Permit and the Construction Project Planning Permit.
Third parties have the right to object to the issuance of either type of permit.
Where the issuance of the Construction Land Planning Permit and the Construction Project Planning Permit may have a significant impact on the interests of a third party, before the permits are issued the authorities must inform the third party of its right to request a hearing, which must be held in public in accordance with the relevant regulations.
In addition, after permits have been issued, if a third party believes that its rights have been infringed, it can seek an administrative reconsideration of the decision to issue the permits, or issue administrative proceedings against the issuing authorities.
Where the rights of a third party have been infringed and a hearing is requested, that hearing must be held in public. However, there are no detailed rules governing the conduct of public inquiries.
The decision to issue the permits should be made within 20 days, or no more than 45 days (depending on which approval procedures and methods are adopted by the authority) after receipt of the application, though this time period can be extended by the authority for another ten days or 15 days, as the case may be.
There is a right of appeal against planning consents. The relevant parties can seek an administrative reconsideration of the decision to issue the permits, or issue administrative proceedings against the issuing authorities.
The Urban Real Estate Administration Law of the PRC (revised in 2009) and the Land Administration Law of the PRC (revised in 2004) are being reviewed and are likely to be amended in due course.
As the drafts of the proposed amendments have not been published, the extent to which these laws will be revised is unknown. However, it is envisaged that there will be provisions to strengthen both tenant protection, and the protection of the rights and interests of those who own land collectively in the event that it is expropriated by the government.
Main activities. This ministry and the local land authorities are in charge of land transactions in urban areas and it is the nominal owner of all state-owned land.
Main activities. MOHURD and the local housing and development authorities are in charge of the planning, construction and title registration of real estate.
Main activities. MOFCOM and the local commerce authorities are in charge of the incorporation approvals of foreign-invested real estate enterprises (FIREE).
Main activities. NDRC and local development and reform commissions are in charge of the approval of projects invested by foreign investors.
Main activities. SAIC and the local administrations for industry and commerce are in charge of the registration of companies (including FIREEs or domestic real estate companies) and supervision of the operation of the companies.
Description. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (the legislative body of the PRC) maintains this website which is a database providing the laws and regulations at state or local level. The database provides the English version of some major PRC laws promulgated by the National People's Congress or its standing committee. Since in the PRC, standardised Chinese characters are used by state organs as the official language, English translations provided are for reference only and are non-binding. Information provided should be up-to-date.
Description. The Central People's Government of the PRC maintains the website, which provides the laws and regulations in the state or local level in Chinese. Information provided should be up-to-date.
Description. The Supreme Court of the PRC maintains the website, which provides the laws and regulations in the state or local level in Chinese. Information provided should be up-to-date.
Qualified. England and Wales, 1998; Hong Kong, 1985
Areas of practice. Real estate.
Qualified. Hong Kong, 1996; California, US, 1988; California (Federal District), US, 1993; Singapore, 1984
Areas of practice. Real estate; mergers and acquisitions; employment.
T +852 2843 2321
F +852 2103 5127
T +86 21 6120 1066, extension 562
F +86 20 8755 3974
Qualified. Hong Kong, 1996
Areas of practice. Banking and financing.