Hong Kong Housing
Laser beams, coming from the residential buildings in Kowloon district (Photo: Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha)

As a gesture to encourage other developers to follow suit, Hong Kong's New World Development announced that it would be giving away a large parcel of land to the government to help it respond to the city's housing crisis. The company revealed that it would be donating a fifth of its entire farmland reserves, which it would have used for its own projects.

New World Development Executive Vice-Chairman Adrian Cheng Chi-kong revealed that the company will be donating 3 million square feet, or 278,700 square meters, of farmland to the Hong Kong government. The property it is donating will be used to help the government in its public housing efforts.

The company, which owns projects such as the Rosewood luxury hotel and shopping center, will also be donating separate parcels of land close to the Tin Shui Wai subway station to a separate entity to build more homes for Hong Kong citizens. 

The three parcels of land near the station will be given to the non-profit social housing and tenant development company Light Be. The company plans to build 100 three-story building on the pieces of land, which total to around 28,000 square feet. Each unit will occupy around 300 square feet. The company hopes to finish the project by 2022.

New World plans to donate a total of 1 million square feet of land to Light Be for its various projects. According to reports, New World released the first pieces of land to the company for a token sum of just HK$1. Cheng mentioned that the company is open to donating more land to other non-profit housing organizations.

In a press conference held this week, Cheng stated that his company has become very concerned about the housing crisis in the city. Cheng mentioned that he hopes the donation made by New World would at least relieve some of the pressures and hopefully benefit those who need it the most.

To avoid any untoward controversies, Cheng clarified that none of the pieces of land they plan to donate are near any of their property currently in development. Cheng stated that they do not want to be accused of conflicting interests. The company apparently just wants to help find a solution to the current crisis.

The company's move to donate a relatively substantial amount of its property could hopefully convince other developers and some of the city's largest landowning families to follow suit.

Some of the more well-known families that own substantial amounts of property in the city include the Lees of Henderson Land Development, the Kwoks of Sun Hung Kai Properties, and the Lis of CK Asset Holdings.