Leading housing developers in China have undertaken to pay more attention to their social responsibilities in a rare move to polish their tainted images.
"We must undertake our due social responsibilities in promoting environmental protection, addressing the concerns of lower-income groups, participating in community activities and building a harmonious society," the developers said in a statement issued Tuesday at the end of the Shanghai International Real Estate Summit and Exposition.
Signatories of the statement, known as the "Shanghai Consensus", are Vanke, Huayuan, Vantone and seven other leading companies.
Property developers are among the richest and most powerful social groups in China. Yet at the same time, they are perhaps one of the most criticized groups in Chinese society.
They are widely held responsible or at least partly responsible for the rampant corruption and irregularities in the industry as well as soaring housing prices.
Ren Zhiqiang, president of Huayuan, has more than once drawn public resentment by saying that housing developers have no obligations to build houses for poor people, and that the industry's unusually high profit is well justified.
This time, Ren said developers should consider renting part of the their stock to help solve housing problems for middle and lower-income groups.
Feng Lun, chairman of Beijing Vantone, said real estate businesses would take in the reform of housing for lower-income groups and spend more human and physical resources on improving the environment.
On the recent steps taken by the central government to stabilize soaring housing prices, the developers conducted extensive discussion of the matter and expressed their understanding of government position. They also held the impact of the new policies as positive.