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Alibaba visit may open door for housing upturn

(China Daily)

13:42, November 08, 2011

SHANGHAI - Nearly 100 employees from Alibaba Group Holdings visited commercial property projects developed by Hangzhou-based Greentown China Holdings Ltd on Sunday in search of possible savings through bulk purchasing.

Cash-strapped developers have seen a slump in transactions due to the nation's tight policies to dampen the property market, and some analysts say the move may be part of a diversified marketing strategy to attract more clients.

The employees stand to win a sizable discount - possibly as high as 8 percent, based on the total property price - as a part of a special offer for Alibaba staff.

"In common with previous home-purchase visits, we informed our employees of the time, location and contact details, and they themselves decided whether or not to take part," said Tao Ran, vice-president of Alibaba.

According to Tao, Alibaba occasionally organizes this sort of trip to help employees find homes in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province.

However, some analysts have said that there's a connection between the bulk purchasing strategy and reports in the Chinese financial media that Greentown is facing challenges in terms of capital. The experts said that cutting inventory and replenishing capital would be a good way of overcoming any cash flow difficulties.

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