This article critically examines the origins and evolution of China’s unique land institutions and situates land policy in the larger context of China’s reforms and pursuit of economic growth. It argues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has strengthened the institutions that permit land expropriation—namely, urban/rural dualism, decentralized land ownership, and hierarchical land management—in order to use land as a key instrument of macroeconomic regulation, helping the CCP respond to domestic and international economic trends and manage expansion and contraction. Key episodes of macroeconomic policymaking are analyzed, with the use of local and central documents, to show how the CCP relied on the manipulation and distribution of the national land supply either to stimulate economic growth or to rein in an overheating economy. China’s land institutions, therefore, share “complementarities” with fiscal and financial institutions and benefit powerful political actors while imposing costs on marginal ones.
Publicly listed in November 2005, Link REIT was the first real estate investment trust (REIT) in Hong Kong after the Hong Kong government decided to privatize a portfolio of community shopping malls, car parks, and fresh produce markets. Run by CEO George Hongchoy, the company had evolved from managing retail spaces in public housing estates in Hong Kong into new property types such as offices, and into new geographies such as Beijing and Shanghai in Mainland China. The case centers around the many questions Hongchoy faced on whether the strategic shift would dilute Link's mission of servicing the local community with affordable yet quality retail experience, while balancing his responsibilties to his shareholders while pursuing other growth opportunities.
In this video supplement to the HBS case series "Sanford C. Bernstein Goes to Asia," case protagonist Ghislain de Charentenay recalls his leadership priorities and challenges upon being appointed director of research in Asia.
See more research