China’s ‘charming towns’ plans have become a nightmare for thousands of investors amid a legal crackdown.
The project involved dotting China’s countryside with themed villages, such as Crayfish Town, Poetry Town, Fairyland Town, and Happy Town (via South China Morning Post).
Happy Town was set to have a sex toy shopping street, a sex exhibition centre, and an adult-only hotel.
JC Group, based in the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, signed agreements with local governments to develop more than 50 charming town projects across the country.
However, the collapse of the funding company has seen senior executives detained by police and thousands of investors looking for answers.
What investors make of the collapse
There are thought to be 3,800 individual investors exposed to JC Group’s collapse.
“JC Group is very high-profile in Hangzhou and even in Zhejiang province. It has its own building there and it has been focusing on financing public-private partnership (PPP) projects for years.
“It paid a large amount of taxes to local authorities there,” said Jay Li, who invested in JC’s charming towns.
“I thought it was smart and safe to invest in projects backed and promoted by the Chinese authorities, like the Belt and Road Initiative or new urbanisation [projects],” added Liu Lijia, who invested 1 million yuan (US$148,480) in a JC Group fund.
Wanda’s investment in Gansu
Meanwhile, Wanda Group plans to invest an additional 45 billion yuan (US$6.7 billion) in Gansu over the next three years.
The company is investing in the Chinese province as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) boosts local consumption.
According to Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin, the investment will mainly go on cultural tourism projects, five Wanda Plazas and three 5-star hotels in Gansu over the next three years.