The Nanfang / Blog

Shenzhen-based college graduate literally works himself to death

Posted: 11/21/2013 7:00 am

Much has been written about the plight of college graduates trying to survive Shenzhen’s high living costs and competitive job market. A 29 year-old real estate planner based in Shenzhen’s Luohu District who died suddenly on October 29 appears to be another victim of the stresses of life in Shenzhen after his death was attributed to the fact that he was routinely working until three and four in the morning.

Li’s father clutches his son’s photo, image courtesy of Southern Metropolis Daily

Li Maotao, who was born in 1984, came from a poor family who invested everything in his education. In 2006, he graduated from high school in his native Qiyang County in Hunan Province and got into Dalian University to study Engineering Management.

After taking his degree, he was accepted into Chongqing University’s graduate school, but he had to drop out after a few months because his family could no longer support him financially. In March 2011, he came to Shenzhen and got a job at Dingtai Real Estate Brokerage. The base salary was 2,500 yuan, so success was heavily dependent on performance bonuses.

This year he was promoted to planner and his base salary was increased to 4,000 yuan.

After being promoted, he was sent to Xuzhou for six months on a project. While there, he would frequently take to Sina Weibo to complain about the crazy hours he had to work. Li routinely tweeted in the wee hours of the morning, with the latest tweet being recorded at 4:57 a.m.

When it emerged that he was not well, Li was given temporary leave of absence and returned to his hometown. However, just two days after arriving in Qiyang, he died in the local hospital.

The autopsy suggested he had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which is usually caused by a virus. He also had an irregular heartbeat.

Southern Metropolis Daily reported Tuesday (November 19) that Li’s family might have grounds for legal action against the Dingtai company, but it must first be established that overwork was directly responsible for his death.

The issue of young, ambitious people doing harm to themselves by working excessive hours is not unique to Shenzhen. This year, Moritz Erhardt, 21, was found dead in the shower at his temporary accommodation in London while he was on a placement at Merill Lynch.

But the young in China are particularly vulnerable to being worked too hard, as this year’s graduates entered the toughest job market in history.


Survey: Guangzhou’s middle class save decades for housing

Posted: 03/27/2012 7:44 am

Information Times last week picked up on a report from Savills, an leading international property management service company, with the results from its latest investigation into average residential prices in many Chinese cities as well as the varying local income levels among middle classes in different regions throughout the country.

The Savills report reveals that in Shanghai, which sits at the top of the list, the average middle class family has to save for approximately 30 years in order to purchase a 100 sqm apartment. Tied for second place are Guangzhou and Beijing, in which families must save for an average of 28 years to purchase an equivalent property.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Savills’ statistics also show that the price-to-income ratio (PIR) in several first- and second-tier cities in mainland China is in fact higher than for cities overseas such as Stockholm, Sydney, and even Zurich.

The study also shows that at the same time that income and dwelling size for urban residents has remained roughly stable since 2001, property prices have continued to rise steadily.

PIR figures in China’s top 10 sample cities have soared during every year included in the study, due largely to rising housing prices, save for the last two years when cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou saw PIR figures dip slightly as the result of regulation and market controls.

With regard to the future of housing prices, Liu Deyang, president of Hong Kong-based investment management company First Pacific, remains optimistic that the market will be able to lower prices by between 10-20% over the coming year.


If you have cheap rent, lock it in

Posted: 02/17/2011 9:27 am

People out shopping for an apartment in the PRD are finding that prices aren’t as good as they were a few months ago.

Inflation is becoming a growing problem in China as a whole, and rental rates are no exception. From Life of Guangzhou:

In the China’s capital of Beijing, the financial center Shanghai and the southern metropolis Guangzhou, rents have risen by 10 percent for individual homes, stores and office buildings. In Guangzhou, the rent list is five times the length of the leasing list.

The reports on CPI in January, released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics, show this tendency. Individual residence prices went up 7.1 percent compared to the same period of last year, much higher than the rise in other prices.

Let us know if you find any good deals out there, or can recommend any property agents who help you save a few kuai.

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV