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Thursday, November 16, 2000, updated at 12:27(GMT+8)

Demand for Quality Housing Rises

New expectations and demands have forced China's housing industry to pay more attention to the quality of housing it provides, officials said November 15.

"Buyers have become increasingly concerned about the quality of housing and the manner of its construction,'' explained Nie Meisheng, director of the Housing Industrialization Office with the Ministry of Construction.

According to Nie, consumers are demanding the use of energy-saving and environmentally friendly materials and products in their domiciles.

He noted that the overall quality of housing is determined by a combination of construction, building materials, function and service, acccording to

In the past time, China has concentrated on building cheaply and quickly in order to meet sky-rocketing demands for housing, explained Sun Kefang, head of the demonstration department in the Housing Industrialization Office.

As a result, there is a country-wide dearth of high-quality residential buildings.

According to official statistics, 440 million square metres of housing are constructed in China's urban areas every year, with a total production value of 600 billion yuan (US$72 billion).

Nie, Sun and a host of real estate agents, materials producers, contractors and urban planning experts recently gathered to discuss these observations at the China's Housing Industry Symposium of New-type, Energy-saving and Environment-protecting Materials held in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province.

The conference concluded Wednesday.

China is currently emphasizing the development of towns, which will provide more chances for housing builders and materials producers to expand business, Sun said.

The housing market has exploded in recent years because the central government is gradually scrapping its welfare-style housing distribution system. Now all people, including government officials, are encouraged to pay for the residences themselves.

Unfortunately, the housing industry has yet to fully adjust to this new system.

China now has a total of 27,000 real estate companies, more than 10,000 architectural design firms and housing construction companies, and tens of thousands of housing materials and equipment producers.

These different sectors of the industry tend to do business in their own way, causing things to be disjointed, Nie said.

Without the development of more united efforts, design, standard-drafting, technology improvement and materials production will fail to meet increasing demands from consumers, especially in the realm of quality, the director added.

The ministry has kicked off a project, dubbed "Housing Industry Constructing Integration,'' to help the housing industry set up some large housing industrial groups.

The competition within housing industry is becoming increasingly fierce throughout the country, and many small or medium-sized housing enterprises will either be annexed or come to naught, Sun warned.

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New expectations and demands have forced China's housing industry to pay more attention to the quality of housing it provides, officials said November 15.

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