Chinese tycoon builds luxury houses for hometown; villagers squabble over ownership

The houses are meant to be free for each villager, and were ready since the end of last year.
The houses are meant to be free for each villager, and were ready since the end of last year.PHOTO: WEIBO

After striking it rich, a Chinese tycoon decided to give back to his hometown by building hundreds of luxury houses for its residents, but was left disturbed by their response afterwards.

Founder of beverage company Tiandi No. 1 Beverage, Mr Chen Sheng, donated 200 million yuan (S$41.7 million) to construct 258 luxury homes in Guanhu village, Guangdong province, five years ago, reported Southern Metropolis Daily on Monday (March 26).

Each home, which covers 280 sq m, has five bedrooms, two living rooms, a garage and a small garden. The grounds also feature leisure amenities such as a basketball court, a badminton court,and a stage for hosting traditional operas.

The houses are meant to be free for each villager, and were ready since the end of last year, according to the Chinese media report.

However, the villas remain unoccupied as the villagers cannot seem to agree on how many homes each family should get.

According to the report, some families have asked for more than one villa for their children when they get married. Former villagers who had migrated to other places also suddenly expressed interest to return.

The disagreements have even forced Mr Chen to avoid returning to his hometown for two years, as he has been left disheartened by the experience.


One of the many houses built by the tycoon. PHOTO: WEIBO

"If I return, everyone would have all sorts of requests, so I'd rather not return," he was quoted as saying in the Southern Metropolis Daily.

The villas have also faced vandalism from others outside the village, causing multiple repairs. Earlier this month, at least 10 windows were smashed by stones, the report added.

Mr Chen had also planned to plant lychee orchards and a pig farm close to the villa development, to create more than 100 jobs for the community, according to South China Morning Post.

He also added that the meat processing company that he owned would buy the pigs reared on the farm to guarantee an income for the villagers, SCMP reported.

For now, the village committee is planning to hold a meeting to find a solution to the issue, said Southern Metropolis Daily.