Q: I am with The Financial Times. Last year, China's real estate market has been on the decline. This has prompted a large number of Chinese nationals to start buying homes overseas.
Currently, Chinese customers have become the largest group of homebuyers in New York, Sydney and London and this has significantly driven up the local home prices. Hence some people have called into question the legitimacy of the money spent on buying these homes overseas from China.
Are you concerned about the possible backlash to such massive home buying by Chinese overseas? And will the Chinese government introduce new policy measures to boost the domestic real estate market this year?
A: China is advancing the full convertibility of renminbi under the capital account. It shows that China is taking further steps to open up the capital market. You talked about the phenomenon of large number of Chinese buying homes overseas and said that they have become the largest home buyers in a number of key international metropolises.I suppose that more evaluations need to be done here as to whether that is true. And as far as I'm concerned, I am not in possession of solid information about this.
But what I know is that China is still the largest destination of the inflow of foreign direct investment and the number now stands at $120 billion. As the same time, the Chinese government will also encourage Chinese companies and Chinese nationals to go overseas, to make investment, and do business. In doing so, these Chinese companies and Chinese nationals need to abide by China's relevant laws and regulations and also observe the local laws.
You have a Westerner's face but you speak Chinese so well. I wonder if you have bought home in China but you are welcome to do so.
China is still a large developing country. Housing is not just an economic issue but also one that concerns people's livelihood. The Chinese government needs to meet the basic housing needs of the low-income people in China. And the government will take more steps this year to rebuild urban rundown areas and the dilapidated homes in urban and rural areas. The plan for such efforts this year is to increase such the building and rebuilding rundown areas and dilapidated homes by 1 million units each. The Chinese government has the responsibility to provide for the daily necessity in terms of housing for our people.
The real estate market is governed by its own laws. China is such a large country with vast land that expands. There are mega cities and medium and small-size cities as well as small townships in this country. And the conditions of these different cities and townships vary significantly from one to another. Hence the central government has required the local governments enhance their responsibility to exercise their regulation of their local real estate markets. And differentiated policies need to be adopted in the light of local conditions. As the same time, urbanization is still picking up speed in China hence the housing demand in China is here to stay. We also encourage Chinese people to buy homes for their personal use or their second home. We hope to see there will be steady and sound growth of China's real estate markets in the long run.
Q: I am with the Beijing News. Mr Premier, on many occasions, you have expressed your strong support about new forms of businesses, like e-commerce and delivery service, so I am very curious, have you ever shopped online, and what did you buy?
Some people are worried that online shopping will adversely affect physical stores, what's your view about this?
A: I suppose each and everyone of you here has had the experience shopping online and I am no exception. Yes, I've bought things on the Internet. Actually I have bought a few books, no so long ago, but as for what books, I don't think it will be a good idea for me split down here, no advertisement here.
But I have said that I will be happy to advertise for new forms of businesses, like online shopping, express, delivery service and e-commerce, because these new forms of bossiness gave a strong boost for employment and consumption in this big country, and people are getting quite enthusiastic when they try to buy something online.
I've heard such a worry that online shopping will adversely affect to physical stores. At the beginning, such a worry was only natural, but I recalled unexceptional trip that I paid to a local village in China. It's a village with 800 households, but these people have opened about 2,000 shops on the Internet. One can while imagine how vast the space for business entrepreneurs there.
And I also after that visited a close by city where there is a large number of physical stores and I asked one of the shop owners that if he is concerned that the physical stores will be adversed by online shopping, but the owner showed me that he also opened an online shop and he even uploaded a video of the physical store on the Internet to show that the store is very competitive, so such the sound interaction between the online and offline has only boosted the vitality of market.
To borrow a popular idea on the Internet that everyone stands a chance to fly when there is favorable wind blowing from behind. I believe with the tail wind generated by our Internet Plus strategy we will be able to bring Chinese economy off to a new level. I cannot help but remember that today, March 15th, is the day for the protection of rights and interests of consumers, so I believe all the stores no matter online and offline are honest to do the business and put the quality of products before everything else. So they protect rights and interests for consumers. Thank you.