© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A construction site of residential buildings by Chinese developer Country Garden is pictured in Tianjin, China August 18, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo
HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s largest private property developer, Country Garden , (HK:) expects the property market will remain weak in 2024 and the company could face more, “severe” challenges, its top management said.
Country Garden, which defaulted on its $11 billion worth of offshore bonds in October and extended repayments on its onshore notes last year, is among a long list of developers facing a cash crunch since being hit by a debt crisis in mid-2021.
In an annual internal conference on Monday, chairperson Yang Huiyan said the market did not recover as expected last year and it was still in correction, according to the firm’s official Weibo (NASDAQ:) account.
“The challenges to be faced by the company this year may be more severe than we imagine; we have to respond calmly,” Country Garden President Mo Bin said.
Yang said she expected the market would “hover at a low level” in 2024, but the outlooks for different cities and between state-owned and private companies would increasingly diverge.
Home delivery remains the top priority this year, the company said, expecting to deliver 480,000 homes to buyers, 20% less than the 600,000 units it delivered in 2023, the most in the country.
Yang said last March that the firm would close down all of its side businesses except contract construction – building projects for other companies – as well its construction robot business, as it sought to boost margins and lower costs.
Country Garden said on Monday so far it has commercialised 28 types of robots and has delivered 2,890 units to clients.
Its contract construction unit has built 30 developments worth 24.4 billion yuan and it was ranked number 11 in 2023 in the country in terms of constructed area.