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The silver lining of China's thick miasma of smog

By Juwai, 15 January 2014
Silver Lining

Clean, fresh air has now become a luxury in China.

As China recently experienced its most serious case of air pollution in the last 52 years, we were reminded of Premier Li Keqiang's speech in March 2013 to the Chinese public, in which he stressed the importance of ensuring that China's ardent pursuit of economic growth should not come at the cost of Mother Nature and the environment.

Motivated by cities that have battled smog before, such as London, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Chinese officials are upbeat about defeating air pollution. The US and China plans to work hand-in-hand, sharing experience and know-how to cope with China's challenges with air pollution, and new measures from China have been well-received by the US Director of Environmental Protection, Gina McCarthy.

Some measures include:

  • RMB 1.7 trillion allocated to clean up power stations and traffic fumes – closing power stations burning coal or enforcing a switch to cleaner gas.
  • New pollution monitoring equipment installed.
  • New lottery system introduced to minimise the increase of cars and drivers on the road.
  • Big push for renewable energy – hydroelectric, wind and solar – to help replace coal, the cheapest but most polluting fuel.


Smog continues to create opportunity for real estate industries

Chinese in mask by Nicolò Lazzati on FlickrThe obvious opportunity in China's smog crisis is that there's great demand in China's green tech market, which is expected to triple and hit $555 billion by 2020, according to the U.S Department of Commerce.

However, property agents worldwide are also reaping the benefits, with the desire for better (and healthier) lifestyles being a driver of Chinese property investment and emigration abroad.

Sydney property agents at the recent LPS Shanghai were well sought after by Chinese buyers, with Australia famed for its healthy environment and clear, blue skies. The US remains a top favourite for wealthy Chinese, renowned for its quality schools and clean air.


Some health related points you could emphasise with prospective Chinese buyers:

  • What is the air quality index (AQI) ranking for your city? Different countries have their own air quality indices, so check with your local government agencies to find out.
  • What is your water quality index ranking? Water quality varies vastly by region, and it's important as drinking water, but also for bathing and cooking.
  • Does your property include additional built-in or existing air/water purifiers?
  • Check your country's ranking for quality of life by The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This ranks each country by a number of quality of life factors, including environment, which will give you a ranking for both air quality and water quality.



[Image source: Morning Fresh Panorama by Keegan Wong and Chinese Mask by Nicolò Lazzati on]