The Evergrande Real Estate Group was founded in Guangzhou in 1996 and has grown to become China's 2nd largest property developer. Its founder Xu Jiayin has accordingly grown to be a very rich man, albeit only the 8th richest in China in 2016 despite his billions! The group nowadays has projects in over 170 cities in China, however since 2010 it has begun to diversify its business. This began with the purchase of a football club in 2010, since renamed as Guangzhou Evergrande F.C., and has continued with mineral water brands as well as forays into finance, internet, health, agribusiness, culture and tourism.
With so much money I guess it is natural to own a private jet and Mr Jiayin settled on the Airbus A319. The aircraft was built in 2010 and moved to Lufthansa Technik AG as D-ALHT - perhaps for fitting out work. She joined the Evergrande Group in August 2012 wearing a livery using the company's branding and registered as B-6435.
The Evergrande Group, Mr Jiayin and the A319 gained some small notoriety when the aircraft was used to transport its owner and his staff of 25 on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in October 2014. It was rumoured in Australia that Evergrande was interested in buying the Gold Coast's Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa. Instead it appears Jiayin bought an AUD$39 million mansion in the Point Piper Area of Sydney though apparently he forgot to inform the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board of the purchase and was forced to sell it in 2015. Likewise in New Zealand his arrival was noted by the press and in both countries it was linked to the perceived issue of increasing Chinese investment ramping up housing costs and purchasing assets.
It hasn't all been roses at Evergrande as despite its size the company has racked up huge debts whilst not making any profits for 5 years! In March 2015 it was reported that it would receive more than $16 billion in credit lines from Chinese Banks to help prop it up, with its debt reaching $24 billion by the end of June. With the downturn in the Chinese property market the company has been hit hard despite its diversification, however it appears the Chinese government believes it is too big to fail. Somewhat bizarrely far from tightening its purse strings in March 2016 it spent around $500 million buying a bank of all things (the Shengjiang Bank). Business in China certainly makes little sense from a standard Western perspective. In May it has been announced that the group has proposed changing its name to China Evergrande Group to reflect its expanding scope of business.
It remains to be seen what happens to the company but perhaps a sense of reality has at least punctuated the aviation side of it. Airfleets indicates that the A319 has been registered to the HNA Group private jet arm Deer Jet since April 28, 2016 so perhaps the aircraft has been sold on. Regardless at present it still wears the Evergrande livery so it is possibly now being leased back? The sight of extravagant wealth from Chinese individuals is no longer a surprise to Australians or New Zealanders and indeed there have been several other private A319 visits to both countries. The question is whether such extravagance is at all sustainable, especially in a country with such huge inequality despite its figleaf of Communist principles.
2014 October. Chinese billionaire Xu Jiayin arrives on Gold Coast in private jet with sights set on acquiring five star hotel. Gold Coast Bulletin
2015 Feb. Chinese property mogul tours NZ in private jet. Newshub.co.nz
2015 March. Evergrande Boss’ Sydney Mansion Caught in Aussie Crackdown. Mingtiadi.com
2015 April. Market Slump? China’s Real Estate Tycoons Get More Private Jets. Mingtiadi.com
2015 March. China came THIS close to another massive property developer default. Business Insider Australia
2016 March. Giant Chinese Developer Evergrande Real Estate Goes Out on Banking Limb. Wall Street Journal
2016 May. Real estate developer Evergrande propose to rename as business expansion. China Daily.com.cn
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: