China’s property market runs out of steam as millions demand their money back

A line of 60 uniformed security guards stretched across the entrance to ailing Chinese property giant Evergrande’s gleaming Shenzhen tower on Monday as dozens of angry investors demanded answers – and their money – from the company.

The protesters, who claimed they had been “swindled”, represent just a fraction of an estimated 1.5m people who pumped cash into Evergrande to buy apartments which have yet to be built – and may never be.

Evergrande, founded in 1996 by the well-connected billionaire Xu Jiayin, rode an urban property boom now running out of steam and is teetering under a $300bn debt burden. The firm was forced to deny an imminent bankruptcy but ratings agencies predict a default, while domestic banks and foreign creditors are on the hook, prompting fears of a "Lehman moment" for the world’s second-biggest economy.

Russell Lynch | Yahoo Finance

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