Company Quick10K Filing
Q&K International Group
20-F 2020-09-30 Filed 2021-02-16
20-F 2019-09-30 Filed 2020-02-18

QK 20F Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Item 3. Key Information
Item 4. Information on The Company
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions
Item 8. Financial Information
Item 9. The Offer and Listing
Item 10. Additional Information
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities
Part II
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
Item 15. Controls and Procedures
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert
Item 16B. Code of Ethics
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Item 16D. Exemptions From The Listing Standards for Audit Committees
Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities By The Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Item 16F. Change in Registrant's Certifying Accountant
Item 16G. Corporate Governance
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Part III
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
EX-2.4 d62143dex24.htm
EX-4.11 d62143dex411.htm
EX-4.12 d62143dex412.htm
EX-4.13 d62143dex413.htm
EX-4.14 d62143dex414.htm
EX-4.15 d62143dex415.htm
EX-4.16 d62143dex416.htm
EX-4.17 d62143dex417.htm
EX-4.18 d62143dex418.htm
EX-4.19 d62143dex419.htm
EX-8.1 d62143dex81.htm
EX-12.1 d62143dex121.htm
EX-12.2 d62143dex122.htm
EX-13.1 d62143dex131.htm
EX-13.2 d62143dex132.htm
EX-15.1 d62143dex151.htm
EX-16.1 d62143dex161.htm

Q&K International Group Earnings 2020-09-30

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

Form 20-F
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The Company then makes payments to the rental service company in installments equal to the reimbursed renovation costs plus interest and tax over a period of five years.Upon asset acquisition with Beautiful House (Note 8), the Group engaged a third party service provider to provide apartment operation services to the Group. 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Table of Contents
 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM
20-F
 
 
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report                    
For the transition period from                    to                    
Commission file number: 001-39111
 
 
Q&K International Group Limited
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
Suite 1607, Building A
No.596 Middle Longhua Road
Xuhui District, Shanghai, 200032
People’s Republic of China
(Address of principal executive offices)
Chengcai Qu, Chief Executive Officer
Phone:
+86-
21-6422-8532
Email: ccqu@qk365.com
Suite 1607, Building A
No.596 Middle Longhua Road
Xuhui District, Shanghai, 200032
People’s Republic of China
(Name, Telephone,
E-mail
and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
 
 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
 
Title of each class
 
Trading
Symbol(s)
 
Name of each exchange
on which registered
A
merican depositary shares
(one American depositary share representing thirty (30) Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share)
 
QK
 
NASDAQ Global Market
     
Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share*
       
 
*
Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing of American depositary shares on the NASDAQ Global Market.
 
 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.
Not Applicable
(Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.
Not Applicable
(Title of Class)
 
 
As of September 30, 2020, there were 1,436,010,850 ordinary shares outstanding, consisting of
1,255,621,301
Class A ordinary shares and
180,389,549
Class B ordinary shares, all with a par value of US$0.00001 per share.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a
well-known
seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
(§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-accelerated
filer or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
 
Large accelerated filer  ☐        Accelerated filer  ☒   
                        Non-accelerated filer   ☐
         
           
                   Emerging growth company   
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
 
The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP  ☒           International Financial Reporting Standards as issued       Other  ☐
            by the International Accounting Standards Board  ☐        
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.    Item 17  ☐    Item 18  ☐
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ☐    No  
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.    Yes  ☐    No  ☐
 
 
 

Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  
 
1
 
 
 
  
 
3
 
 
 
PART I
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
5
 
 
 
  
 
5
 
 
 
  
 
5
 
 
 
  
 
61
 
 
 
  
 
99
 
 
 
  
 
99
 
 
 
  
 
128
 
 
 
  
 
137
 
 
 
  
 
138
 
 
 
  
 
139
 
 
 
  
 
139
 
 
 
  
 
154
 
 
 
  
 
155
 
 
 
PART II
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
158
 
 
 
  
 
158
 
 
 
  
 
158
 
 
 
  
 
160
 
 
 
  
 
160
 
 
 
  
 
160
 
 
 
  
 
160
 
 
 
  
 
161
 
 
 
  
 
161
 
 
 
  
 
162
 
 
 
  
 
162
 
 
 
PART III
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
163
 
 
 
  
 
163
 
 
 
  
 
163
 
 
 
  
 
166
 

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION
Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires in this annual report on Form
20-F:
 
   
“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents 30 Class A ordinary shares;
 
   
“apartments contracted” or “rental units contracted” refer to apartments or rental units that we have leased in from landlords, as applicable;
 
   
“available apartments” or “available rental units” refer to the apartments or rental units in operation, as applicable, which have been renovated and ventilated and are ready to rent to tenants;
 
   
“average
month-end
occupancy rate” refers to the aggregate number of
leased-out
rental unit nights of the last day of each month in the relevant period as a percentage of the aggregate number of available rental unit nights of the last day of each month in the same period;
 
   
“average monthly rental after discount for rental prepayment” refers to the total rental received by a rental operator from tenants for the relevant period the tenants stay in the rental operator’s apartments, net of value-added tax, divided by the number of
leased-out
rental unit nights for the same period times 30.5 (which represents the average number of days in a month); for avoidance of doubt, the total rental does not include any utility fees a rental operator charges tenants for the relevant period;
 
   
“average monthly rental before discount for rental prepayment” refers to the total rental received by a rental operator from tenants for the relevant period the tenants stay in the rental operator’s apartments, net of value-added tax, adding back any discount the rental operator offers for rental prepayment, divided by the number of
leased-out
rental unit nights for the same period times 30.5 (which represents the average number of days in a month); for avoidance of doubt, the total rental does not include any utility fees a rental operator charges tenants for the relevant period;
 
   
“China” or the “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purposes of this annual report only, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;
 
   
“leased-out
rental unit nights” refer to the number of nights that the rental units of a rental apartment were leased out for a relevant period;
 
   
“long-term apartment rental” refers to apartment rental business in which the rents are normally collected on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the lease terms are normally over six months;
 
   
“long-term apartment operator” refers to a company which operates long-term apartment rental business, collects vacant apartment resources and rents those apartments directly to tenants;
 
   
“ordinary shares” refers to our Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 per share;
 
   
“period-average occupancy rate” refers to the aggregate number of
leased-out
rental unit nights as a percentage of the aggregate number of available rental unit nights during the relevant period;
 
   
“tenant renewal rate” refers to the percentage of tenants who choose to rent from the same operator after the end of the applicable
lock-in
period in the lease;
 
   
“rental spread after discount for rental prepayment” refers to the difference between the average monthly rental after discount for rental prepayment on a lease to a tenant, and the monthly straight-lined rental that the rental operator pays to the landlord for the same space;
 
1

Table of Contents
   
“rental spread before discount for rental prepayment” refers to the difference between the average monthly rental before discount for rental prepayment on a lease to a tenant, and the monthly straight-lined rental that the rental operator pays to the landlord for the same space;
 
   
“rental spread margin after discount for rental prepayment” refers to the rental spread after discount for rental prepayment as a percentage of the average monthly rental after discount for rental prepayment on a lease to a tenant on the same space;
 
   
“rental spread margin before discount for rental prepayment” refers to the rental spread before discount for rental prepayment as a percentage of the average monthly rental before discount for rental prepayment on a lease to a tenant on the same space;
 
   
“rental unit” refers to each bedroom in a rental apartment; we typically convert a
leased-in
apartment to add an additional bedroom, or the N+1 model, and rent each bedroom separately to individual tenants after standardized decoration and furnishing;
 
   
“RMB” and “Renminbi” refer to the legal currency of China;
 
   
“straight-lined rental” refer to the rental a rental operator pays to a landlord after adjustment to record rent holidays/rent-free period and rent escalation clauses on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease with the landlord;
 
   
“tier 1 cities” refer to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen;
 
   
“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$,” and “dollars” refer to the legal currency of the United States; and
 
   
“we,” “us,” “our company,” “our” and “Qingke” refer to Q&K International Group Limited, its subsidiaries, variable interest entity and its subsidiaries.
Unless otherwise indicated, the number of our tenants, tenant renewal rate, average lease term of our tenants, and our other operating data in this annual report do not take into account tenants who choose not to stay in our apartments after the first week of their leases. To encourage prospective tenants to try out our apartments, we have put in place a policy to allow a new tenant to cancel a lease within three days from the
move-in
date, and we will return all rental, deposits and fees penalty free. If a new tenant cancels the lease on the fourth to the seventh day, we will return all unused rental, deposit and fees penalty free. In FY 2020, approximately 3.0% of our leases with tenants were terminated during the first week of their leases.
Our fiscal year end is September 30. “FY 2017” refers to our fiscal year ended September 30, 2017, “FY 2018” refers to our fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, “FY 2019” refers to our fiscal year ended September 30, 2019, and “FY 2020” refers to our fiscal year ended September 30, 2020.
Our reporting currency is the Renminbi. This annual report on Form
20-F
also contains translations of certain foreign currency amounts into U.S. dollars for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise stated, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars were made at RMB6.7896 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate on September 30, 2020 set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board. We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts referred to in this annual report could have been or could be converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. The PRC government restricts or prohibits the conversion of Renminbi into foreign currency and foreign currency into Renminbi for certain types of transactions. On February 5, 2021, the noon buying rate set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board was RMB6.4664 to US$1.00.
Names of certain companies provided in this annual report are translated or transliterated from their original Chinese legal names.
Discrepancies in any table between the amounts identified as total amounts and the sum of the amounts listed therein are due to rounding.
 
2

Table of Contents
FORWARD-LOOKING
STATEMENTS
This annual report on Form
20-F
contains
forward-looking
statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those listed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the
forward-looking
statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigations Reform Act of 1995.
You can identify some of these
forward-looking
statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these
forward-looking
statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These
forward-looking
statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to:
 
   
our mission and strategies;
 
   
our ability to continue as a going concern;
 
   
our ability to achieve or maintain profitability;
 
   
general economic and business condition in China and elsewhere, particularly the long-term apartment rental market and government measures aimed at China’s real estate industry and apartment rental industry;
 
   
health epidemics, pandemics and similar outbreaks, including
COVID-19;
 
   
competition in the apartment rental industry;
 
   
our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;
 
   
our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our apartments and services;
 
   
our ability to attract and retain tenants and landlords, including tenants and landlords from our acquired lease contracts;
 
   
our ability to control the quality of operations, including the operation of our rental apartments managed by our own apartment managers or by third-party contractors;
 
   
our ability to integrate strategic investments, acquisitions and new business initiatives; and
 
   
our relationship with financial institution partners and third-party product and service providers.
These
forward-looking
statements involve various risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these
forward-looking
statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. You should thoroughly read this annual report and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our
forward-looking
statements by these cautionary statements.
This annual report contains certain data and information that we obtained from various government and private publications. Statistical data in these publications also include projections based on a number of assumptions. Our industry may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. Failure of this market to grow at the projected rate may have material and adverse effect on our business and the market price of our ADSs. In addition, the rapidly changing nature of China’s branded long-term apartment rental industry results in significant uncertainties for any projections or estimates relating to the growth prospects or future condition of our market. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data are later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. You should not place undue reliance on these
forward-looking
statements.
 
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Table of Contents
The
forward-looking
statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any
forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
 
4

Table of Contents
PART I
ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
Not applicable.
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
Not applicable.
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION
A.
Selected Financial Data
The following selected consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data and selected consolidated cash flows data for FY 2017, FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020, and selected consolidated balance sheets data as of September 30, 2018, 2019 and 2020 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report beginning on page
F-1.
Our selected consolidated balance sheets data as of September 30, 2017 has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. You should read this Selected Financial Data section together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” below.
The following table presents our selected consolidated statements of comprehensive loss data for FY 2017, FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020.
 

    
FY 2017
   
FY 2018
   
FY 2019
   
FY 2020
 
  
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB

   
US$
 
  
(in thousands, except for share, per share and per ADS data)
 
Selected Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss Data:
 
Net revenues:
                              
         
Rental service revenue
     508,910       796,940       1,089,164       1,105,172
      162,774  
Value-added services and others
     13,827       92,997       144,606       102,791
      15,139  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Total net revenues
     522,737       889,937       1,233,770       1,207,963
      177,913  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Operating costs and expenses:
                              
         
Operating cost
     (547,618     (897,959     (1,304,992     (1,203,415
    (177,245
Selling and marketing expenses
     (42,008     (117,826     (135,413     (63,512
    (9,354
General and administrative expenses
     (34,353     (84,953     (108,196     (102,769
    (15,136
Research and development expenses
     (44,160     (51,947     (47,029     (24,934
    (3,672
Pre-operation
expenses
     (19,934     (117,107     (42,661     (14,245
    (2,098
Impairment loss
     (22,750     (50,614     (46,213     (846,766
    (124,715
Loss from disposal of property and equipment
     —         —         —         (468,980
    (69,073
Other (expense) income, net
     (1,460     4,034       2,427       15,881
      2,339  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Total operating costs and expenses
     (712,283     (1,316,372     (1,682,077     (2,708,740
    (398,954
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Loss from operations
     (189,546     (426,435     (448,307     (1,500,777
    (221,041
Interest expense, net
     (50,136     (77,167     (91,914     (130,206
    (19,177
Foreign exchange gain (loss), net
     3       (91     (457     (62
    (9
Fair value change of contingent
earn-out
liabilities
     (5,165     6,164       42,404       97,417
      14,348  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Loss before income taxes
     (244,844     (497,529     (498,274     (1,533,628
    (225,879
Income tax expense
     (596     (2,393     (63     (13
    (2
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Net loss
     (245,440     (499,922     (498,337     (1,533,641
    (225,881
Less: net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests
     35       (63     (95     (49
    (7
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Net loss attributable to Q&K International Group Limited
     (245,475     (499,859     (498,242     (1,533,592
    (225,874
Deemed dividend
     (58,763     (135,545     (307,389     —  
      —    
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders
     (304,238     (635,404     (805,631     (1,533,592
    (225,874
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

   
 
 
 
Net loss per share attributable to ordinary shareholders of Q&K International Group Limited—Basic and diluted
     (0.86     (1.55     (1.87     (1.14
    (0.17
Weighted average number of ordinary shares used in computing net loss per share—Basic and diluted
     354,861,449       409,403,915       430,450,490       1,351,127,462         1,351,127,462  
 
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Table of Contents
The following table presents our selected consolidated balance sheet data as of September 30, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
 
    
As of September 30,
 
Selected Consolidated Balance Sheets Data:
  
2017
   
2018
   
2019
   
2020
 
  
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
  
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB
   
US$
 
    
(in thousands)
 
Assets
                                        
Current assets:
                                        
Cash and cash equivalents
     365,115       103,752       159,799       22,879       3,370  
Restricted cash
     2,000       15,000       91,015       8,887       1,309  
Accounts receivable
     314       475       1,306       1,943       286  
Amounts due from related parties
     12,541       22,505       5,587       168       25  
Prepaid rents and deposit
     92,687       170,683       128,213       51,281       7,553  
Advance to suppliers
     27,270       17,079       64,028       16,043       2,363  
Other current assets
     42,118       118,445       146,559       101,803       14,994  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total current assets
     542,045       447,939       596,507       203,004       29,900  
Non-current
assets:
                                        
Property and equipment—net
     578,331       1,320,822       1,185,311       358,022       52,731  
Intangible assets—net
     1,714       1,232       1,248       222,123       32,715  
Land use rights
     11,307       11,021       10,734       10,448       1,539  
Other assets
     201       389       5,946       57,133       8,415  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total assets
     1,133,598       1,781,403       1,799,746       850,730       125,300  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Liabilities and equity:
                                        
Total current liabilities
     1,173,179       1,969,883       1,697,111       1,961,740       288,935  
Total
non-current
liabilities
     386,389       590,654       913,501       883,440       130,115  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total liabilities
     1,559,568       2,560,537       2,610,612       2,845,180       419,050  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total mezzanine equity
     368,546       644,043       1,425,485       —         —    
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total Q&K International Group Limited shareholders’ deficit
     (812,351     (1,440,949     (2,246,028     (2,004,078     (295,168
Noncontrolling interest
     17,835       17,772       9,677       9,628       1,418  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total shareholders’ deficit
     (794,516     (1,423,177     (2,236,351     (1,994,450     (293,750
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
Total liabilities, mezzanine equity and shareholders’ deficit
     1,133,598       1,781,403       1,799,746       850,730       125,300  
    
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
6

The following table presents our selected consolidated cash flow data for FY 2017, FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020.
 
    
FY 2017
   
FY 2018
   
FY 2019
   
FY 2020
 
    
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB
   
RMB
   
US$
 
    
(in thousands)
 
Selected Consolidated Cash Flow Data:
                                        
Net cash used in operating activities
     (43,589     (117,048     (88,189     54,841       8,078  
Net cash used in investing activities
     (285,518     (674,298     (351,450     (138,670     (20,406
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
     649,451       539,528       569,569       (134,924     (17,979
Effect of foreign exchange rate changes
     (238     3,455       2,132       (295     (104
Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
     320,106       (248,363     132,062       (219,048     (30,411
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the period
     47,009       367,115       118,752       250,814       35,090  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the end of the period
     367,115       118,752       250,814       31,766       4,679  
B.
Capitalization and Indebtedness
Not applicable.
C.
Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
Not applicable.
D.
Risk Factors
Our business, financial condition and results of operations are subject to various changing business, competitive, economic, political and social conditions. In addition to the factors discussed elsewhere in this annual report, the following are some of the important factors that could adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and business prospects, and cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements.
Summary of Risk Factors
 
   
We have a limited operating history in an emerging and rapidly evolving market, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and results of operations and may increase the risk that we will not be successful. In addition, our historical growth and financial condition may not be indicative of our future growth, profitability, and financial condition.
 
   
The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our consolidated financial statements includes an explanatory paragraph questioning our ability to continue as a going concern. We recorded net losses in the past and may not be able to continue as a going concern or achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
 
   
Our business requires significant capital expenditure for sourcing, renovation and maintenance of rental apartments. Inability to access financing on favorable terms in a timely manner or at all would materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
 
   
The
COVID-19
outbreak has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our business, results of operations and financial condition. We also face risks related to other health epidemics, natural disasters, civil and social disruptions and other outbreaks and catastrophes, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
 
   
Tenants may terminate their leases during lease terms, exposing us to the risk of
re-leasing
our rental apartments, which we may be unable to do on a timely basis, on favorable terms or at all.
 
   
We have relied on our tenants’ rental prepayments to finance our growth. To the extent a lease agreement is terminated during the rental period covered by the prepayment, we need to return the unused prepaid rentals. If a significant number of the lease agreements are terminated early, our liquidity and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
 
7

   
We rely on our cooperation with a limited number of financial institutions.
 
   
Capital and credit market conditions may adversely affect our access to capital and/or the cost of capital, which could impact our future prospects, results of operations and growth prospects.
 
   
Our business is susceptible to China’s macro-economic conditions, particularly the long-term apartment rental market and government measures aimed at China’s real estate industry and apartment rental industry.
 
   
Our expansion into new markets may present increased risk.
 
   
Strategic investments, acquisitions or new business initiatives may disrupt our ability to effectively manage our business and adversely affect our operating results. In addition, to the extent we fund these business initiatives through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted.
 
   
We have started and may continue to expand our business by acquiring lease contracts and related fixtures and equipment of rental units from other rental service companies, and have engaged and may engage more third-party contractors to manage these rental units. We may not be able to control the quality of sourcing, renovation, marketing, maintenance and other rental unit management activities or participate in the tenant screening process. The third-party contractors may not manage the rental units according to the terms of our contracts or otherwise below standard, or do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us. These may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation.
 
   
We have been, and may from time to time be, subject to claims, controversies, lawsuits and other legal and administrative proceedings, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and reputation.
 
   
If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to our variable interest entity do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.
 
   
We rely on contractual arrangements with our variable interest entity and its shareholders for a significant portion of our business operations, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.
 
   
Any failure by our variable interest entity or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.
 
   
Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
 
   
Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to us.
 
   
We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related businesses and companies, and any lack of requisite approvals, licenses or permits applicable to our business may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
 
   
We rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiary to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiary to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.
 
8

   
The market price for the ADSs may be volatile.
 
   
An active market for the ADSs may not be maintained.
 
   
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.
 
   
Conversion of the convertible notes and exercise of the warrants we issued may dilute the ownership interest of existing shareholders, including holders who had previously converted their convertible notes.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We have a limited operating history in an emerging and rapidly evolving market, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and results of operations and may increase the risk that we will not be successful. In addition, our historical growth and financial condition may not be indicative of our future growth, profitability, and financial condition.
We have a limited operating history in the branded long-term apartment rental industry, which is an emerging and rapidly evolving market in China. We may not continue our growth or maintain our historical growth rates or financial condition. For example, our number of rental units contracted decreased by 17.5% from September 30, 2019 to September 30, 2020, compared to an increase of 3.2% from September 30, 2018 to September 30, 2019. You should not consider our historical growth or financial condition as indicative of our future performance.
You should consider our future operations in light of the challenges and uncertainties that we may encounter. These risks and challenges include, among other things:
 
   
changes in national, regional or local economic, demographic or real estate market conditions;
 
   
changes in laws and policies on rental housing, including but not limited to rent control laws or tenant protection laws;
 
   
changes in job markets and employment levels on a national, regional and local basis;
 
   
health epidemics, pandemics and similar outbreaks, including
COVID-19;
 
   
overall conditions in the rental market, including:
 
   
macroeconomic shifts in demand for rental homes;
 
   
inability to lease or
re-lease
homes to tenants on a timely basis, on attractive terms or at all; and
 
   
development of branded apartment rental industry in China;
 
   
failure of tenants to pay rent when due or otherwise perform their obligations in connection with the lease;
 
   
significant number of early terminations of leases;
 
   
level of competition for suitable rental homes;
 
   
our ability to expand and manage our apartment network and maintain rapid business growth;
 
   
our ability to manage our procedures, control and systems under different business models, including for rental apartments managed by our apartment managers or by third-party contractors;
 
   
our ability to maintain high occupancy rate and target rent levels;
 
9

   
our ability to raise rents;
 
   
costs and time period required to renovate rental homes;
 
   
unanticipated repairs, capital expenditures or other costs;
 
   
our ability to maintain or renew favorable terms with financing partners and other strategic partners;
 
   
our ability to maintain, deepen and broaden cooperation with financial institutions, service providers and other third parties;
 
   
our ability to develop more value-added products and services;
 
   
our ability to effectively control our operating costs and expenses;
 
   
our ability to maintain the proper functioning of our technology systems and infrastructure;
 
   
disputes and potential negative publicity in connection with early termination of leases with landlords, rental collection, eviction proceedings, quality control and other aspects of our business;
 
   
costs resulting from the
clean-up
of, and liability to third parties for damages resulting from, environmental or safety problems;
 
   
decoration and supply capabilities;
 
   
our ability to increase our brand awareness;
 
   
our ability to attract and retain employees; and
 
   
changes in U.S. accounting standards regarding operating leases.
In addition, we utilize a
lease-and-operate
model, under which we lease apartments, usually in bare-bones condition, and lease to tenants after renovation. Therefore, we are also subject to the risks inherent in a
lease-and-operate
model, including:
 
   
upfront capital outlay for apartment sourcing and renovation;
 
   
ongoing capital needs to maintain and operate apartments; and
 
   
mismatch between our lease term with landlords, which generally provides a
lease-in
contract
lock-in
period of five to six years, subject to the extension for another two to three years at the option of landlords, and our lease term with tenants, which generally has a contracted term of 12 to 26 months and an average
lock-in
period of 9.3 months in FY 2020.
Any one or more of these factors could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
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The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our consolidated financial statements includes an explanatory paragraph questioning our ability to continue as a going concern. We recorded net losses in the past and may not be able to continue as a going concern or achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
We incurred net losses in FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020 of RMB499.9 million, RMB498.3 million and RMB1,533.6 million (US$225.9 million), respectively. As of September 30, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of RMB3,809.5 million (US$561.1 million). Our net cash used in operating activities were RMB117.0 million and RMB88.2 million for FY 2018 and FY 2019, respectively, and our net cash generated from operating activities were RMB54.8 million (US$8.1 million) for FY 2020. Our balance of cash and cash equivalents has fluctuated and amounted to RMB103.8 million, RMB159.8 million and RMB22.9 million (US$3.4 million) as of September 30, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. As of September 30, 2018, 2019 and 2020, our current liabilities exceeded our current assets by RMB1,521.9 million, RMB1,100.6 million and RMB1,758.7 million (US$259.0 million), respectively. Furthermore, in July 2020, to replenish and expand our rental units portfolio, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China at a total consideration of US$130 million, less certain liabilities to be assumed by us. To finance this acquisition, in July 2020, we issued series 1 and series 2 convertible notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$30.050 million at par and warrants to purchase 104,871 ADSs to Key Space (S) Pte Ltd and Veneto Holdings Ltd., and subsequently, from September 2020 to December 2020, we issued additional series 1 and series 2 convertible notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$12.03 million at par and warrants to purchase 67,696 ADSs to Key Space (S) Pte Ltd, pursuant to the convertible notes and warrant purchase agreements. We have paid US$5.8 million to the transferor to settle the first installment of the consideration as of the date of this annual report. The remaining consideration for the acquisition, which consists of US$23.2 million in cash and 128.6 million Class A ordinary shares, subject to adjustments based on terms and conditions set forth in the agreements, will be payable in installments upon reaching certain milestones linked to the transfer of lease contracts and other related assets. We will also issue in installments, to a third-party contractor that manages the rental units as previously announced, up to 99.6 million Class A ordinary shares, subject to certain performance indicators and other terms and conditions set forth in the agreement. In addition, our operations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. See “—The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our business, results of operations and financial condition. We also face risks related to other health epidemics, natural disasters, civil and social disruptions and other outbreaks and catastrophes, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.” These factors raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We have adopted a series mitigation plans and actions as discussed in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” However, future financing requirements will depend on many factors, including the scale and pace of the expansion of our apartment network, our efficiency in apartment operation, including apartment renovation and pricing, the expansion of our sales and marketing activities, and potential investments in, or acquisitions of, businesses or technologies, and there can be no assurance that these plans and arrangements will be sufficient to fund our ongoing capital expenditures, working capital, and other requirements. Inability to access financing on favorable terms in a timely manner or at all would materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects.
The report of our independent registered public accounting firm on our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report includes an explanatory paragraph questioning our ability to continue as a going concern. Our financial statements do not include any adjustments that might be necessary if we are unable to continue as a going concern. If we are unable to continue as a going concern or achieve or maintain profitability, we may have to liquidate our assets, and the value we receive for our assets in liquidation or dissolution could be significantly lower than the values reflected in our audited consolidated financial statements. If we cease operations, it is likely that all of our investors would lose their investment. Our lack of cash resources and our potential inability to continue as a going concern may materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs and our ability to raise new capital or to continue our operations.
In addition, we will need to generate increased revenue levels in future periods to become profitable, and, even if we do, we may not be able to maintain or improve profitability as we intend to continue to spend significant funds to expand our operations, including expanding our apartment network, developing and enhancing our technology systems and infrastructure, and expanding offerings of other value-added services. Our efforts to grow our business may be more costly than we expect, and we may not be able to increase our revenue immediately or significantly to offset our operating expenses. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including the other risks described in this annual report, and unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays and other unknown events.
Our business requires significant capital expenditure for sourcing, renovation and maintenance of rental apartments. Inability to access financing on favorable terms in a timely manner or at all would materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
We recorded negative working capital. As of September 30, 2018, 2019 and 2020, our current liabilities exceeded our current assets by RMB1,521.9 million, RMB1,100.6 million and RMB1,758.7 million (US$259.0 million), respectively. Our capital expenditures totaled RMB1,000.4 million, RMB172.1 million and RMB138.7 million (US$20.4 million) in FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020, respectively. We are in need of additional funding to sustain and expand our business, and we have formulated a plan to address our liquidity problem, including but not limited to, cooperation with a rental service company to finance apartment renovation under a financing arrangement model, obtaining proceeds from our tenants’ rental prepayment, and adoption of a stringent cash management policy. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Our management reviews our forecasted cash flows on an
on-going
basis to ensure that we will have sufficient capital from a combination of internally generated cash flows and proceeds from financing activities, if required, in order to fund our working capital and capital expenditures. We believe that adequate sources of liquidity will exist to fund our working capital and capital expenditures, and to meet our short-term debt obligations, other liabilities and commitments as they become due.
 
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We utilize a
lease-and-operate
model. Under this model, we generally incur substantial upfront capital outlay before we start to generate revenues on the relevant apartments. These include capital outlay for market research and evaluation of the target geographic area for expansion, apartment searching, prepayment of a few months’ rental to our landlords, and renovation of the apartments we lease, which are usually in bare-bone condition, to add an additional bedroom and make them suitable for
lease-out
to tenants. We followed a disciplined and systematic process to expand our apartment network, involving comprehensive market research, site visits and other preparation work, during which period we may incur substantial operating costs and expenses. After we have identified the geographic area to expand into and available apartments to lease, the typical period from the time we enter into a lease agreement with landlords to successfully leasing out the apartment and receiving the first rental payments from tenants is approximately 83.3 days as of September 30, 2020, which may be significantly extended due to some factors that are beyond our control, including but not limited to, substantial delay during the renovation period due to third-party contractors’ default, and inability to attract and retain tenants in a timely manner due to apartment rental market condition. Inability to timely access financing on favorable terms or at all would materially and adversely affect our apartment sourcing and expansion, which could materially and adversely affect our future business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
In addition, our rental apartments have infrastructure and appliances of varying ages and conditions. In order to maintain and operate our rental apartments, ongoing renovations and other leasehold improvements, including periodic home cleaning and replacement of furniture, fixtures and equipment, are required. These investments and expenditures also require ongoing funding and, to the extent we cannot fund these expenditures from our existing cash or cash flow generated from operations, we must borrow or raise capital through financing. If we fail to access capital that are necessary to maintain or improve the rental apartments, our rental apartments’ attractiveness could be reduced, we could lose market share to our competitors and our occupancy rates may decline.
We cooperate with financial institutions which provide rental installment loans to our tenants to finance their rental prepayments, which have helped us finance our capital expenditure for apartment sourcing, renovation, and ongoing apartment maintenance and operation. Since May 2020, the financial institutions have suspended providing new rental installment loans to tenants. As of September 30, 2020, 11.9% of rental payment made by our tenants had been facilitated by rental installment loans.
However, the Opinions on Rectification and Normalization of Home-rental Market, which became effective on December 13, 2019, requires that a residential rental company, such as us, shall make sure that the total rental income it receives through rental installment loan does not exceed 30% of the rental income of such company by the end of 2022. Moreover, the Measures on Residential Tenancy (Discussion Draft) published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the PRC, or the MOHURD, for public discussion in September 2020, which has not taken effect as of the date of this annual report, state that (i) residential rental operators are prohibited from inducing tenants to utilize rental installment loans by providing rental discounts or by including any term of rental installment loans in the rental agreement; and (ii) commercial banks may extend a rental installment loan only if the lease agreement has been registered with local housing bureau and the term of the loan does not exceed the duration of the tenancy. We cannot assure you that we can find alternative sources of financing and our business operations, cash flow or financial condition would not be negatively affected by significantly reducing the percentage of our rental income received through rental installment loan.
The
COVID-19
outbreak has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our business, results of operations and financial condition. We also face risks related to other health epidemics, natural disasters, civil and social disruptions and other outbreaks and catastrophes, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We may be subject to social and natural catastrophic events that are beyond our control, such as health epidemics, natural disasters, civil and social disruptions and other outbreaks and catastrophes, which may materially and adversely affect our business, particularly in locations where we operate.
Since December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, or
COVID-19,
has become widespread in China and around the world. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the spread of
COVID-19
a pandemic after characterizing it as a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020. Since the beginning of 2020, China has taken various restrictive measures to contain the spread of
COVID-19,
such as quarantines, travel restrictions and home office policies. This has resulted in a material and negative effect on the economy and apartment rental market in China and caused significant loss of our tenants, decrease in our occupancy rates and decrease in average rental rates of our rental units, particularly in the quarters ended March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, which in turn resulted in a decrease in our revenue. In FY 2020, our average month-end occupancy rate and the rental spread margin before discount for rental prepayments decreased as compared with FY 2019 mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19, pandemic. In addition, some of our employees and business partners were unable to return to work timely during the
COVID-19
pandemic in China, which temporarily interrupted our operation. As a result, our business, results of operations and financial condition have been adversely affected by the
COVID-19
pandemic.
 
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In response to the challenges and uncertainties resulting from the
COVID-19
pandemic and its impact on our business, we have actively taken actions including, but not limited to, reducing our costs and expenses, controlling our number of rental units contracted by reducing leases with landlords given the decrease in occupancy rate, taking necessary measures to sanitize our working spaces and apartments, modifying our cooperation with the rental service company, seeking additional financial support from banks and financial institutions and seeking consolidation opportunities through acquiring high quality assets.
As the
COVID-19
pandemic has been under control in China, the apartment rental market and our business have been steadily recovering. However, because the situation of
COVID-19
is very fluid, we cannot predict whether or when the spread of
COVID-19
may recur in China or worldwide. We have offered, and may continue to offer, promotions to our tenants, such as discounts on the rentals we charge our tenants for, so as to retain tenants and maintain our occupancy rate. Moreover, we will continue to monitor the quality of our rental units contracted, available rental units and other asset portfolio, and seek additional source of funds and acquisition opportunities. Our business, results of operations, financial conditions and prospects may be materially and adversely affected if another wave of the
COVID-19
pandemic or epidemic of another disease occur.
Tenants may terminate their leases during lease terms, exposing us to the risk of
re-leasing
our rental apartments, which we may be unable to do on a timely basis, on favorable terms or at all.
Our leases with tenants typically have a contracted lease term of 12 to 26 months.
In FY 2020, our tenants stayed in our rental units for an average duration of 8.8 months. A majority of our
lease-out
agreements include a
lock-in
period (during which termination will result in forfeiture of deposit) of 12 months or longer after the
move-in
date. If the market rental rates decline, we anticipate our rental revenues may be affected greater than if our leases were for longer terms. For example, the market rental rates may decline if another wave of
COVID-19
outbreak occurs in regions where we operate.
Short-term leases may result in high turnover, which involves costs such as restoring the rental apartments, marketing costs and lower occupancy levels. Our estimates on tenant turnover rate and related cost may be less accurate than if we had more operating data upon which to base such estimates. On the other hand, we are subject to a five to
six-year
lease-in
contract
lock-in
period, during which neither landlords nor us may terminate the lease without paying a penalty equal to the rentals for the remaining
lease-in
contract
lock-in
period, and continue to incur rental costs. If our monthly rentals received from tenants decrease or our tenants do not continue to stay with us, our business, results of operations and financial conditions will be materially and adversely affected.
In addition, tenants may terminate the lease during the
lock-in
period, subject to the forfeiture of their security deposits. In FY 2020, 72.6% of our leases with tenants were terminated before the expiration of the applicable lock-in period, increased from 49.0% in FY 2019 mainly attributable to (i) more tenants’ relocation because they changed their jobs, (ii) the negative publicity of rental installment loans since 2019 and (iii) the cancellation of leases as some of our tenants could not return to the cities where they worked due to the
COVID-19-related
quarantine measures. In FY 2020, only 12.4% of our leases with tenants remained in their rental units through the end of the
26-month
contracted lease term. Our liquidity may be materially and adversely affected by tenants’ early termination. See “—We have relied on our tenants’ rental prepayments to finance our growth. To the extent a lease agreement is terminated during the rental period covered by the prepayment, we need to return the unused prepaid rentals. If a significant number of the lease agreements are terminated early, our liquidity and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.” To the extent tenants terminate the lease during the lease term, our business, results of operation and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
We have relied on our tenants’ rental prepayments to finance our growth. To the extent a lease agreement is terminated during the rental period covered by the prepayment, we need to return the unused prepaid rentals. If a significant number of the lease agreements are terminated early, our liquidity and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
We encourage tenants to prepay rentals by providing them with rental discounts during the
lock-in
period. We subsidize the interests on the rental installment loans, which the tenants use to finance rental prepayments. In the event of rental installment loans, we typically receive from our financial institution partners a
lump-sum
payment covering up to 24 months’ rent, which we can use to finance our growth without restrictions. Since May 2020, the financial institutions have suspended providing new rental installment loans to tenants. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Our Cooperation with Financial Institutions.” These rental prepayments have helped us finance our capital expenditure for apartment sourcing, renovation, and ongoing apartment maintenance and operation.
 
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However, our tenant may terminate the lease agreement during the rental period covered by the prepayment, subject to the forfeiture of his/her security deposit should such termination take place during the
lock-in
period. In addition, we may terminate the lease agreement with a tenant, for example, if the tenant defaults on the repayment of his/her rental installment loan, which is granted by our financial institution partner and used by the tenant to finance his/her rental prepayment.
To the extent a lease agreement is terminated before the rental period covered by the prepayment, whether by the tenant or by us, we shall, upon such termination, return the unused prepaid rents, typically in a lump sum, to the tenant, or to our financial institution partner where the tenant has used the rental installment loan granted by such financial institution to finance his/her rental prepayment. Since tenants who prepay rental for certain lease period can enjoy rental discount for the applicable
lock-in
period, and tenants who terminate the lease within the
lock-in
period are subject to forfeiture of their security deposits, our tenants may be incentivized to terminate their lease around the end or shortly after the expiry of the applicable
lock-in
period. In FY 2020, 72.6% of our terminated leases with tenants were terminated during the rental period covered by the prepayment. When a significant number of lease agreements are terminated during the rental period covered by the rental prepayments, we may not have sufficient immediate funds to return all unused rents, and we may not be able to timely
re-possess
the apartments and identify new tenants. See “—Our results of operation, financial condition, and reputation would be adversely affected if a significant number of our tenants fail to meet their obligations in connection with the lease.” Failure to adequately manage our cash and liquidity could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We rely on our cooperation with a limited number of financial institutions.
As of September 30, 2020, we cooperated with 7 financial institutions, which provide rental installment loans to our tenants to finance their rental prepayments. As of September 30, 2020, our largest and second largest financial institution partners accounted for 31.0% and 29.5% of the total amount of outstanding rental loans, respectively. In line with industry practice, we provide guarantee and may also provide additional credit enhancement in the form of security deposits to our financial institution partners with respect to tenants’ repayment of the rental installment loans. As of September 30, 2020, rental payment of 11.9% of our occupied rental units had been facilitated by rental installment loans. Since May 2020, the financial institutions have suspended providing new rental installment loans to tenants.
In addition, in August 2018, we started to cooperate with a rental service company owned by a state-owned bank in apartment sourcing and renovation. Under this model, for certain newly sourced apartments, we continue to be responsible for the entire operating process, including identifying potential apartments for rent, rental pricing and procuring and paying for apartment renovation. Once we have finished the renovation, the rental service company reimburses us for our costs incurred for the renovation. We make payments to the rental service company in installments equal to the reimbursed renovation costs plus interest and tax over a period of five years. At the end of the five-year period, the ownership of the renovation will be transferred to us. Under this arrangement, we also sell leasehold improvements and furniture, fixtures and equipment of certain existing apartments to the rental service company at carrying value and simultaneously lease them back. The cooperation has provided us with access to a stable source of
low-cost
capital to finance our apartment renovation upfront, which helps us scale in a cost-efficient manner. Due to the rising vacancy rate of our rental units caused by the
COVID-19
pandemic, we decreased the number of apartment contracted by terminating some of the leases with landlords under this model. In April 2020, we also started to modify this cooperation for apartments in certain cities. For some apartments under this model, we no longer lease in apartments from the rental service company or enter into new
lease-out
agreements with tenants. Instead, we transferred existing leases with tenants to the rental service company. The rental service company maintains the
lease-in
agreements with the landlords of the apartments, collects rental from the tenants directly and enters into
lease-out
agreements with new tenants directly. We are engaged by the rental service company to manage these apartments. Pursuant to this arrangement, we are responsible for hiring and supervising the third-party contractor including in its identification of potential tenants and daily operation, and receives fee income equals to the rental income from tenants minus the rental fee to landlords. For each of these apartments, if the rental collected from the tenants is less than the rental paid to the landlords, we are required to pay the rental service company this difference. As of September 30, 2020, we had transferred 25,375 of our rental units contracted and managed these rental units under this modified cooperation.
If our financial institution partners reduce, discontinue or do not expand their cooperation with us, for example, as a result of changes in regulatory landscape, tightening of the credit market, default by a significant number of our tenants or otherwise, we may not be able to find alternative sources of financing on similar or better terms in a timely manner or at all, and as a result, our business, financial condition and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
 
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Capital and credit market conditions may adversely affect our access to capital and/or the cost of capital, which could impact our future prospects, results of operations and growth prospects.
In periods when the capital and credit markets experience significant volatility, the amounts, sources and cost of capital available to us may be adversely affected. We primarily use external financing to fund our expansion and renovation. If sufficient sources of external financing are not available to us on cost-effective terms, we could be forced to limit our expansion and renovation and/or take other actions to fund our business activities. If economic conditions deteriorate or credit market tightens, there can be no assurance that the scope of cooperation with those financial institutions would not be terminated or reduced. To the extent that we are able and/or choose to access capital at a higher cost than we have experienced in recent years, absent changes in other factors, our earnings per share and cash flows could be adversely affected. In addition, the price of our ADSs may fluctuate significantly and/or decline in a high interest rate or volatile economic environment.
In addition, rising interest rates could increase interest costs and could affect our ability to become profitable. We currently have, and may in the future incur floating interest rate debt, which subject us to interest risks. See “—Our outstanding and future indebtedness and capital lease and other financing arrangement payable may adversely affect our available cash flow and our ability to operate our business. In addition, we may not be able to obtain additional capital when desired, on favorable terms or at all.” In addition, we pay the interest on our tenants’ rental installment loans, which also exposes us to the risks associated with rising interest. If interest rates increase, our financing costs will also rise and our ability to become profitable could be adversely affected.
Our business is susceptible to China’s macro-economic conditions, particularly the long-term apartment rental market and government measures aimed at China’s real estate industry and apartment rental industry.
We conduct our apartment rental services business in China. Our business depends substantially on conditions of China’s real estate industry, particularly the apartment rental industry. Demand for rental apartments in China has grown steadily in recent years before the outbreak of
COVID-19,
but the growth is often coupled with volatility and fluctuations in real estate transaction volume and prices as well as the employment rate, and was materially and adversely affected by the
COVID-19
pandemic. Fluctuations of supply and demand in China’s real estate industry and apartment rental industry are caused by economic, social, political and other factors outside our control. The Chinese economy has shown slower growth since 2012 compared to the previous decade, and this trend is likely to continue.
We target young people, including recent college graduates, entry level white collar workers and industry workers in cities with strong economic growth, net inflow of people, ambitious urban development plans and favorable policies supporting the development of the apartment rental market. Any severe or prolonged slowdown in China’s economy, and slowdown or discontinuation of urbanization in our target markets may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, there may be situations where China’s residential real estate industry becomes over-heated and our platform becomes less appealing to tenants, landlords and our business partners, which could potentially adversely affect our business. Our occupancy levels and rental rates mainly depend on demands from our target tenants in the target markets. We have benefited in recent periods from the growth of the economy, rapid urbanization and geographic concentration affecting the real estate markets and apartment rental markets, including, in particular:
 
   
soaring prices of residential real estates and extremely stringent home-buying requirements in top tier cities in China that have made it more difficult to purchase apartments, particularly for our target customers;
 
   
favorable rental-related policies and other government support for increased rental options;
 
   
increased number of
“non-resident”
population in top tier cities in China;
 
   
favorable interest rates for financing and a strong and healthy credit market; and
 
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mismatch of supply and demand in China’s long-term apartment rental market.
We do not expect these favorable trends in the apartment rental market to continue indefinitely. Lowered apartment purchase prices that make it more accessible to own apartments, unfavorable policies for the apartment rental markets or decrease of
“non-resident”
population in top tier cities may adversely affect the apartment rental market. A softening of the apartment rental market in our target areas would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In recent years, PRC governmental authorities put forward favorable rental-related policies, including but not limited to, increasing rental housing supply, encouraging the development of modern rental companies, and reducing rental income taxes. These policies have in part driven our growth.
Meanwhile, the PRC governmental authorities also enact certain criteria to regulate the apartment rental market. For example, the State Council of the PRC promulgated Several Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Accelerating the Cultivation and Development of the Home-Rental Market in 2016, which require the local housing authorities to strengthen the administration of the home-rental market participants, including residential tenancy enterprises, intermediary agencies and professionals, in coordination with relevant departments, and keep credit records of relevant market participants. Moreover, the MOHURD published the Measures on Management of Residential Tenancy and Home Sales (Discussion Draft) for public discussion in May 2017, which require the relevant PRC authorities to enhance scrutiny on (i) the terms of duration and rent adjustments in lease agreements, (ii) the filing of lease agreements, and (iii) residential tenancy enterprises. In addition, the Measures on Residential Tenancy (Discussion Draft) published by the MOHURD for public discussion in September 2020, which has not taken effect as of the date of this annual report, state that (i) residential rental operators are prohibited from inducing tenants to utilize rental installment loans by providing rental discounts or by including any term of rental installment loans in the rental agreement; and (ii) commercial banks may extend a rental installment loan only if the lease agreement has been registered with local housing bureau and the term of the loan does not exceed the duration of the tenancy. If the PRC governmental authorities adopt any prohibitive measures or policies with respect to rental housing, or the interpretation of current laws and regulations relating to the apartment rental market becomes more restrictive and rigorous, they may depress the apartment rental market, dissuade potential tenants from renting apartments, and cause a decline in average rental rates. Frequent changes in government policies may also create uncertainty that could discourage investment in real estate. Our business may be materially and adversely affected as a result of decreased demand of rental apartments that may result from government policies.
Our expansion into new markets may present increased risk.
We plan to expand in our existing cities and enter new cities which we believe have strong growth potential, for example, cities with strong economic growth, net inflow of people, ambitious urban development plans and favorable policies supporting the development of the branded long-term apartment rental market. To the extent our predictions or judgment on the market growth turn out to be inaccurate, we may not have sufficient supply or demand in the market to support our growth or achieve profitability. If we cannot maintain or increase occupancy levels and rental rates in our target markets to keep pace with rising costs of rents, renovation and operations, our business, results of operations, and financial condition may be adversely affected. See “—Our business is susceptible to China’s macro-economic conditions, particularly the long-term apartment rental market and government measures aimed at China’s real estate industry and apartment rental industry.”
We followed a disciplined and systematic process to expand our apartment network, involving comprehensive market research, site visit and other preparation work. In addition, as we expand into new geographic areas, it takes time to ramp up the occupancy rate to our target level. For example, it took us eight months to ramp up the
month-end
occupancy rate in Hangzhou to above 90%. During the ramp up period, we may continue to incur upfront renovation costs and other operating costs and expenses without generating corresponding net revenues. For example, in FY 2018, we substantially expanded our apartment network in multiple cities, including Hangzhou, Wuhan and Nanjing, and incurred substantial upfront expenses in connection with our market research, preparation, and testing of our business models in these cities, and our selling and marketing expenses, general and administrative expenses, and
pre-operation
expenses as a percentage of our net revenues increased significantly from FY 2017 to FY 2018 primarily as a result thereof.
 
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In addition, we may not be able to replicate our success in existing cities to new cities we target in a timely manner or at all, as they may have different regulatory and competitive landscape. This may adversely affect our results of operations and growth prospects.
For example, in early 2020, we started to expand our business to Sichuan and Chongqing by acquiring lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures and equipment for approximately 47,000 rental units in Sichuan and Chongqing from another rental service company. Pursuant to the agreement with this rental service company, we were required to pay a consideration of RMB580.0 million, consisting of cash and our Class A ordinary shares, subject to adjustments based on the quality of the assets according to the agreements, to this rental service company by the end of 2020. However, given the closing conditions were not fulfilled by September 30, 2020, this acquisition has been terminated in substance pursuant to the agreement. We did not pay any consideration, and the deposit of RMB200.0 million we paid in January 2020 was fully returned to us. We have agreed to pay back the RMB8.0 million (US$1.2 million) that this rental service company paid us before the termination of this acquisition. We also started to expand our business to Tianjin by acquiring lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures and equipment for some rental units in Tianjin in December 2019. Furthermore, to replenish and expand our rental units portfolio, in July 2020, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China at a total consideration of US$130 million, less certain liabilities to be assumed by us. Due to our lack of experience and recourses in regions that are new to us, we may not be able to operate and manage these rental units in an efficient and effective way, or at all. This may adversely affect our results of operations and growth prospects.
Strategic investments, acquisitions or new business initiatives may disrupt our ability to effectively manage our business and adversely affect our operating results. In addition, to the extent we fund these business initiatives through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted.
We may acquire or make investments in other companies, business, products, technologies or other assets along our business value chain to complement and expand our business. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition or investment candidates, and we may not be able to complete acquisition and investment on favorable terms, or at all. If we do not complete acquisition and investment as we expect, we may not ultimately strengthen our competitive position or achieve our goals, and any acquisition and investment we complete could be viewed negatively by investors. In addition, to the extent we fund these business initiatives through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted. Furthermore, if we fail to successfully integrate such acquisitions or the technologies or other assets associated with such acquisitions into our company, the revenues and operating results of the combined company could be adversely affected. Acquisitions and investments are inherently risky and may not be successful, and they may disrupt our ongoing operations, divert management from their primary responsibilities, subject us to greater-than-expected liabilities and our expenses, and adversely impact our business, financial condition, operating results, and cash flows.
For example, in early 2020, we started to expand our business to Sichuan and Chongqing by acquiring lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures and equipment for approximately 47,000 rental units in Sichuan and Chongqing from another rental service company. Pursuant to the agreement with this rental service company, we were required to pay a consideration of RMB580.0 million, consisting of cash and our Class A ordinary shares, subject to adjustments based on the quality of the assets according to the agreements, to this rental service company by the end of 2020. However, given the closing conditions were not fulfilled by September 30, 2020, this acquisition has been terminated in substance pursuant to the agreement. We did not pay any consideration, and the deposit of RMB200.0 million we paid in January 2020 was fully returned to us. We have agreed to pay back the RMB8.0 million (US$1.2 million) that this rental service company paid us before the termination of this acquisition.
In addition, to replenish and expand our rental units portfolio, in July 2020, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China at a total consideration of US$130 million, less certain liabilities to be assumed by us. To finance this acquisition, in July 2020, we issued series 1 and series 2 convertible notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$30.050 million at par and warrants to purchase 104,871 ADSs to Key Space (S) Pte Ltd and Veneto Holdings Ltd., and subsequently, from September 2020 to December 2020, we issued additional series 1 and series 2 convertible notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$12.03 million at par and warrants to purchase 67,696 ADSs to Key Space (S) Pte Ltd, pursuant to the convertible notes and warrant purchase agreements. We have paid US$5.8 million to the transferor to settle the first installment of the consideration as of the date of this annual report. The remaining consideration for the acquisition, which consists of US$23.2 million in cash and 128.6 million Class A ordinary shares, subject to adjustments based on terms and conditions set forth in the agreements, will be payable in installments upon reaching certain milestones linked to the transfer of lease contracts and other related assets. We will also issue in installments, to a third-party contractor that manages the rental units as previously announced, up to 99.6 million Class A ordinary shares, subject to certain performance indicators and other terms and conditions set forth in the agreement.
 
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We would need to integrate the rental units from asset acquisitions into our business, including but not limited to, integration of the systems and personnel to operate the rental units. As we lack experience in the integration and operation of rental units in regions that are new to us, we may not be able to integrate the rental units into our business in a cost-effective and timely manner, or at all. This integration also requires our management to allocate resources and time from rental units we currently operate and manage to these rental units. In addition, in the process of integrating these rental units, we may continue to rely on the information systems provided by the rental service company to operate these rental units before we transfer all required operating information to our own systems. We cannot ensure that the system provided by the rental service company, which may collect and store sensitive data of third parties, is secured and reliable. These may adversely impact our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
We have started and may continue to expand our business by acquiring lease contracts and related fixtures and equipment of rental units from other rental service companies, and have engaged and may engage more third-party contractors to manage these rental units. We may not be able to control the quality of sourcing, renovation, marketing, maintenance and other rental unit management activities or participate in the tenant screening process. The third-party contractors may not manage the rental units according to the terms of our contracts or otherwise below standard, or do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us. These may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation.
In July 2020, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company, Great Alliance Co-living Limited, and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China to replenish our rental units portfolio. Unlike rental units we directly operate and manage, these rental units had been renovated at the time we acquired the lease contracts.
We have carried out due diligence to verify the authenticity and the quality of these rental units, including but not limited to site visits, calls with landlords and tenants of these rental units, and verification of the operating data such as occupancy rate and rental margin of these rental units provided by the rental service company. However, as these rental units are not sourced, renovated or furnished using our system, we did not monitor these processes and therefore we cannot ensure the quality of these rental units.
We have engaged a third-party contractor to manage these rental units, including but not limited to marketing, maintenance, tenant screening, communications with landlords and tenants. We take measures to supervise and control the quality of the contractor’s management, including but not limited to monitoring operating data related to these rental units on a daily basis such as the number of new leases with tenants and amount of rental income, and reviewing the performance of these rental units each month. Even though we take these measures, we cannot assure you that the contractor will provide services that meet our requirements or will not have disputes with landlords, tenants or other third parties. Furthermore, as tenants of these rental units are not sourced using our system, we cannot participate in the selection process and ensure the reliability and effectiveness of other systems, and therefore we may not be able to ensure these tenants’ creditworthiness. In addition, if the contractor discontinues its relationship with us, we may not be able to find an equivalent on a timely manner, or at all, or manage these rental units by our own team in an effective and efficient way, as we do not have sufficient experience in management of apartments or resources in locations such as Beijing, Chengdu, Changsha, Fuzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Kunming, Ningbo, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Qingdao, Suzhou, Xi’an, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang and Chongqing. These may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.
We have been, and may from time to time be, subject to claims, controversies, lawsuits and other legal and administrative proceedings, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and reputation.
In light of the nature of our business, we are susceptible to potential claims or controversies. We have been, and may from time to time in the future be, subject to or involved in various claims, controversies, lawsuits and other legal and administrative proceedings. Lawsuits and litigations may cause us to incur defense costs, utilize a significant portion of our resources and divert management’s attention from our day-to-day operations, any of which could harm our business. Claims arising out of actual or alleged violations of law could be asserted against us by apartment owners, landlords, tenants, third party contractors and service providers, suppliers, competitors, or governmental entities in civil or criminal investigations and proceedings or by other entities. These claims could be asserted under a variety of laws in different jurisdiction, including but not limited to internet information services laws, intellectual property laws, unfair competition laws, data protection and privacy laws, labor and employment laws, securities laws, consumer protection laws, tort laws, contract laws, property laws and employee benefit laws. In addition, as we do not verify the authenticity of the information such as electronic signatures provided by tenants, landlords and other third parties, such information may be misused and not genuine, which may also subject us to claims, lawsuits and other proceedings. We may also receive formal and informal inquiries from government authorities and regulators regarding our compliance with laws and regulations, many of which are evolving and subject to interpretation.
 
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In particular, we may be exposed to various claims and disputes with our tenants, including but not limited to, those related to the terms set forth in the lease agreements. We take various measures to ensure that our tenants are aware of and understand the terms set forth in the lease agreements. These measures include, but are not limited to, requiring tenants to watch a video regarding important terms before entering into lease agreements, and video recording tenants read out important terms in the lease agreement and confirm they understand the lease agreement. However, our tenants may misunderstand the terms in the lease agreements, such as the length of the lease, upfront payment terms and terms related to rental installment loans. These misunderstandings may lead to disputes between our tenants and us. For example, tenants may claim that they are not aware that the length of the contracted lease term is 12 to 26 months, or do not know their deposits may be forfeited when they terminate the lease during the lock-in period or otherwise breach the term of the lease. In addition, some claims and disputes with tenants may involve accidents, injuries or death in our rental apartments such as lawsuits if a tenant is assaulted or becomes victim of theft or other crime during his or her stay in our rental apartment. See “—Accidents, injuries or death in our rental apartments may adversely affect our reputation and subject us to liability.” Moreover, we may be exposed to claims and disputes with third-party suppliers, including but not limited to, those related to the payment for the goods. Furthermore, we may be exposed to claims and disputes with our landlords, including but not limited to, those related to negotiation and renegotiation of rentals, and amendment and termination of the lease-in contracts. Such claims and disputes may be escalated to lawsuits or other legal proceedings and may distract our management, and materially and adversely affect our business and reputation.
Moreover, as of December 31, 2020, we were involved in 32 ongoing legal proceedings, most of which were initiated by our suppliers. The amount of the claims arising from these ongoing legal proceedings were RMB95.0 million (US$14.0 million) in aggregate. 12 of these legal proceedings have claims over RMB1.0 million (US$0.1 million). In particular, one of our suppliers, Shanghai Greenland Construction (Group) Co. Ltd., or Shanghai Greenland, filed a lawsuit against one of our subsidiary, alleging that we should pay Shanghai Greenland the construction fee and other related expenses and fees for the construction of our research and development center in Suzhou pursuant to a construction contract entered into by Shanghai Greenland and us. The amount of the construction fee and other related expenses and fees is approximately RMB58.0 million (US$8.5 million), which has been accounted for in the consolidated financial statements for FY 2020. As of the date of this annual report, this litigation is still ongoing.
In addition, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we terminated certain leases with landlords before the end of the original lease terms by sending landlords short messages indicating that the leases would be terminated on the specified dates and we would not assume any liability for the early termination of the leases. We had disputes with some of these landlords. Some landlords filed lawsuits against us for compensation aggregating RMB5.2 million (US$0.8 million), under which we estimated that we are exposed to the compensation of RMB5.2 million (US$0.8 million) and recorded the contingent liability in our balance sheet as of September 30, 2020. Certain landlords had expressed their objection to our early termination of leases but did not file lawsuits against us. These landlords had rights to file lawsuits against us within three years from the date of our early termination notice, for a maximum compensation of RMB51.9 million (US$7.6 million). This amount is equivalent to three months’ rents of these leases, based on relevant trial guidance issued by the high people’s courts in the PRC as advised by our PRC legal counsel, JunHe LLP. The actual compensation amount will be negotiated with each landlord and we did not accrue the contingent liability in our balance sheet as of September 30, 2020. As of the date of this annual report, a majority of these landlords have expressed their consents to the early termination of leases as set forth in the short messages, or have not raised any objection to the early termination of leases. As advised by our PRC legal counsel, JunHe LLP, pursuant to the PRC laws, the landlords may file lawsuits against us for the early termination of leases with the courts within three months from the date of our early termination notice, otherwise their claims will not be supported by the courts. These disputes, legal proceedings and potential legal proceedings has materially and adversely affected, and may continue materially and adversely affecting, our financial condition, business and reputation.
There is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves in legal and administrative actions or in asserting our rights under various laws. Even if we are successful in our attempt to defend ourselves in legal and administrative actions or to assert our rights under various laws, enforcing our rights against the various parties involved may be expensive, time-consuming and ultimately futile. These actions could expose us to negative publicity and to substantial monetary damages and legal defense costs, injunctive relief and criminal and civil fines and penalties, including but not limited to suspension or revocation of licenses to conduct business.
We face significant competition in the apartment rental market.
China’s long-term apartment rental market is highly competitive. With the influx of new entrants and the expansion of current participants, we expect competition to continue and intensify, which could harm our ability to increase revenue and attain or sustain profitability. Our competitors include other branded apartment operators and apartment owners who directly rent their apartments to tenants. In addition, in response to increased cooling measures on housing sales, real estate developers may also pivot into standardized rental market. We believe the principal competitive factors in this industry include:
 
   
ability to source suitable and sufficient apartments across multiple regions with favorable terms including contract length, rental-free period,
rent-in
costs, etc.;
 
   
ability to use big data analytics to establish competitive lease terms with both landlords and tenants;
 
   
ability to establish sustainable unit economic model;
 
   
ability to renovate and operate rental apartments in an efficient and cost-effective manner;
 
   
ability to achieve high standardization and manage a complex supply network;
 
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ability to maintain financial flexibility;
 
   
geographic coverage and customer reach;
 
   
ability to set up IT and internet infrastructure; and
 
   
brand awareness and customer satisfaction, including the availability and range of value-added services to help foster a sense of community and loyalty among tenants.
We face competition for our sourcing of suitable apartments in our target markets. Our competitors may have better access to newer, better located apartments at lower cost. They may also have more rapid access to the information of available apartments, which helps them rent such apartments from owners before we receive such information. Moreover, our competitors may be more resourceful, have a lower cost of funds or better access to funding sources that may not be available to us. In addition, our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of rental apartments. Competition may result in fewer options of apartments available to us, higher rental rates to be paid by us, our acceptance of greater risk, lower yields and a narrower spread of yields over our financing costs. As a result, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify suitable apartments that are consistent with our tenants’ need, and our failure to accomplish the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation.
We also face competition for our target tenants. Our competitors may successfully attract tenants with cheaper and more convenient rental units, better incentives, amenities and value-added services, which could adversely affect our ability to obtain quality tenants and lease out our rental apartments on favorable terms. In addition, our competitors may have better access to tenant information, which helps them identify and acquire quality tenants more quickly. Moreover, some competing housing options may qualify for government subsidies that may make such options more accessible and therefore more attractive than our rental apartments. This competition may affect our ability to attract and retain tenants and may reduce the rental rates we are able to charge.
Furthermore, as a result of the competition for suitable apartments and tenants, we may not be able to maintain the spread or margin between
lease-in
from landlords and
lease-out
to tenants, which may adversely affect our results of operations.
If we fail to compete effectively in the market, we would lose our market share, fail to gain additional market share, and our business, results of operation and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
New laws, regulations and policies may be promulgated to strengthen the regulation on the apartment rental industry which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
PRC laws, regulations and policies concerning the apartment rental industry are developing and evolving. Although we have been taking measures to comply with laws, regulations and policies that are applicable to our business operations, the PRC government authority may promulgate new laws and regulations regulating the apartment rental industry in the future. We cannot assure you that our practice would not be deemed to violate any new PRC laws, regulations or policies relating to the apartment rental industry.
In recent years, some tier 1 cities in China have adopted the restrictions on group-oriented leasing. Group-oriented leasing refers to the practice of renting a single apartment to multiple tenants under separate leases, resulting in the over-crowding of such apartment. In particular, Beijing and Shanghai have expressly banned the lease of rental apartment providing living space of less than five square meters per capita. We typically convert the living room of our rental apartment to add an additional bedroom, which is known as N+1 model. While some local governments, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuhan and Nanjing, do not consider N+1 model as group-oriented leasing, governmental authorities in other existing cities may implement restrictions that affect our N+1 model in the future. In addition, we cannot assure you whether any local governments may change its policies or interpret them in a manner that renders our N+1 model
non-compliant.
If we are deemed to violate local laws, regulations and policies, we may be subject to penalties and may need to adjust our business model, which may have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operation, financial condition and growth prospects.
Moreover, the PRC government may institute a licensing regime covering our industry at some point in the future. For example, we cannot rule out the possibility that future laws or regulations will require us to register as real estate brokerage enterprise. Under the current PRC laws and regulations, enterprises operating real estate brokerage related business are required to register as real estate brokerage enterprise at local housing authorities. Pursuant to the Real Estate Brokerage Management Methods promulgated by MOHURD, only enterprises providing intermediary and agency services to the landlords in order to facilitate real estate transactions in return for commissions are deemed as a real estate brokerage enterprise, which is different from our business model, as advised by our PRC legal counsel, JunHe LLP. Therefore, we do not believe that our current business constitutes real estate brokerage under PRC laws and regulations and as a result our company shall not be subject to registration as a real estate brokerage enterprise. However, the Measures on Residential Tenancy (Discussion Draft), or the Draft, published by the MOHURD for public discussion in September 2020, if enacted, empowers MOHURD to further set up standards of qualification for residential rental operators on financial position, expertise and managing abilities. The Draft has not taken effect as of the date of this annual report. If any future laws and regulations deem our business as real estate brokerage or any other licensing regime or qualification requirement is introduced, we cannot assure you that we would be able to complete any newly required registration, obtain any newly required license or meet any qualification requirement in a timely manner, or at all, which could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.
 
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In addition, under the current PRC legal regime, there is no laws or regulations specifically controlling the rents. The Administrative Measures for Commodity Housing Leasing, promulgated by the MOHURD on December 1, 2010, provides a principle rule that landlords shall not raise the rent unilaterally and randomly during the term of the lease agreements. In addition, on May 19, 2017, the MOHURD published the Measures on Management of Residential tenancy and Home Sales (Discussion Draft), or the Discussion Draft, for public discussion, which was closed on June 19, 2017. As of the date of this annual report, the MOHURD had not promulgated or published any regulations, rules, notices or circulars in relation to the rents of house leasing. The Discussion Draft stipulates that landlords must not unilaterally raise rent if they have not reached a consensus with the tenant on the frequency and range of rent adjustments in the lease agreement. This Discussion Draft also stipulates that the local governments shall establish a system to publicize information on rents in the local markets. The Discussion Draft also stipulates that landlords shall not evict the tenants through violence, threats or other coercive measures. Although the final provisions, interpretation, adoption timeline and effective date of the Discussion Draft remain substantially uncertain, our business practices may be subject to stricter governmental supervision in the future, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
Our business growth depends on our ability to attract and retain tenants. If we are not able to attract or retain sufficient tenants in a timely manner and at a low cost, our business, financial condition and results of operation may be materially and adversely affected.
We depend on rental income from tenants for substantially all of our revenues. As a result, our success depends upon our ability to attract quality tenants for our rental apartments in a timely manner and at a low cost. We may not be successful in locating quality tenants to lease the rental apartments as quickly as we have expected or at all due to competition, market condition, delay in renovation or other factors. We incurred loss of tenants and decrease in occupancy rate due to the
COVID-19
pandemic, particularly in the quarters ended March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020. If vacancies continue for a longer period of time than we expect or indefinitely, or another wave of the
COVID-19
pandemic or epidemic of other diseases occur, we may suffer reduced revenues, which may have a material adverse effect on us.
In July 2020, to replenish and expand our rental units portfolio, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China at a total consideration of US$130 million, less certain liabilities to be assumed by us. We started to operate these rental units from July 2020. We cannot ensure that, after the original lease terms expire, the existing tenants will enter into new lease contracts with us, or we can acquire new tenants in a timely manner, or at all, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our results of operation, financial condition, and reputation would be adversely affected if a significant number of our tenants fail to meet their obligations in connection with the lease.
Our results of operation, financial condition, and reputation would be adversely affected if a significant number of our tenants fail to meet their obligations in connection with the lease. For instance, tenants may default on rental payments or repayment of rental installment loans. If a tenant defaults on his/her payment obligations after the applicable grace period, we may terminate the lease and
re-possess
the apartment pursuant to the lease agreement and the PRC laws and lease the apartment to a new tenant. However, we may not be able to find a new tenant in a timely manner or at all, and the security deposit of the defaulting tenant may not be sufficient to cover our lost rentals for the period in between the leases.
In addition, tenants may use our rental apartments for illegal purposes, damage or make unauthorized structural changes to our rental apartments, refuse to leave the apartment upon termination of the lease, engage in domestic violence or similar disturbances, disturb nearby residents with noise, trash, odors or eyesores, sublet our apartments in violation of our lease or permit unauthorized persons to live in our rental apartments. Damage to our rental apartments may delay
re-leasing,
necessitate expensive repairs or impair the rental income of the rental apartment resulting in a lower than expected rate of return.
We may not be able to successfully identify, secure and develop additional apartments in a timely fashion.
We plan to operate more rental apartments to further grow our business. We select locations which we believe would provide tenants with convenient access to core districts, major business development zones, and commercial centers, as well as affordability. However, we may not be successful in identifying and leasing additional apartments at the locations as desirable as we anticipated, for example, due to delays in the completion of infrastructure or other facilities surrounding such location, such as subway stations and business centers, and on commercially reasonable terms or at all. We may also incur costs in connection with evaluating apartments and negotiating with their owners, including apartments that we are subsequently unable to lease. We may also lease furnished apartments that we expect to be in good condition from landlords only to discover unforeseen defects and problems afterwards that prevent us from leasing them out to our tenants in a timely manner, or at all. In addition, we may not be able to develop additional rental apartments on a timely basis due to renovation delays. If we fail to successfully identify, secure or develop in a timely fashion additional apartments, our ability to execute our growth strategy could be impaired and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
 
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We may not be able to renew our existing leases with landlords on commercially reasonable terms, and the rents we pay to landlords could increase substantially in the future, which could materially and adversely affect our operations.
We plan to renew our existing leases with landlords upon expiration. We cannot assure you, however, that we will be able to renew our leases with landlords on satisfactory terms, or at all. In particular, as the
lease-in
contract
lock-in
period of 27.6% of our
lease-in
contracts as of September 30, 2020 would expire by the end of FY 2021 and rents may be
re-negotiated,
we may incur significant increases in rents. In the nine months ended September 30, 2020, 48.4% of our leases with landlords, or leases of 47,103 rental units, were terminated as we strategically reduced the number of leases with landlords to reduce the rentals we need to pay to the landlords, in response to the lower tenant demand and thus, lower occupancy rate and revenues from tenants which were not sufficient to cover the rentals we need to pay to the landlords due to the
COVID-19
pandemic in China. This helped us to mitigate the adverse effect of the
COVID-19
pandemic on our business, cash flow and financial conditions. If we fail to renew our leases with landlords or a significant number of our existing leases with landlords are not renewed on satisfactory terms upon expiration, our expansion may be impeded and our costs may increase. If we are unable to pass the increased costs on to our tenants through rental rate increases, our operating margins and earnings could decrease and our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
In July 2020, to replenish our rental units portfolio, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China at a total consideration of US$130 million, less certain liabilities to be assumed by us. We started to operate these rental units from July 1, 2020. The existing landlords may not be willing to enter into new lease contracts with us on terms favorable to us and in a timely manner, or at all, upon expiry of the lease. In addition, we cannot assure you that all the landlords have the legal rights to lease the rental units to us, or the rental service company has the legal rights to transfer the related fixtures and equipment to us. These may adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
Early termination of the leases or breach of leasing agreements by landlords may materially and adversely affect our operations.
Our leases with landlords typically provide for a minimum term of five to six years, or
lease-in
contract
lock-in
period, some of which may be extended for up to two to three years at the discretion of landlords, with
locked-in
rents for the first two or three years, with approximately 5% annual,
non-compounding
increase in rents for the rest of the lease period. Landlords may terminate the leasing agreements before the end of their term for various reasons. Historically, approximately 1% of our landlords terminated the leases during the lease term. If the lease with a landlord is terminated before expiration or breached the leasing agreements, making the apartments no longer available, we would have to terminate our lease agreements with our tenants who resided in such apartments and return the residue of
pre-paid
rents to such tenants or financial institutions in the scenario of rental installment loans. Alternatively, we would facilitate tenants to relocate to another apartments of ours and subsidize their relocation-related expenses. In either way, we may incur additional costs and expenses. In addition, although our lease agreements generally provide that landlords shall pay a penalty equal to the rents of the remaining period for early termination, the penalty may be lowered if the court deems the penalty prescribed under our lease agreements to be excessively unfair, i.e., 30% higher than the actual losses we incurred. There can be no assurance that we are able to receive fair compensation for our losses, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected by landlords’ early terminations.
 
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Our estimation of potential rents involves a number of assumptions that may prove inaccurate, which could result in us paying too much rents for apartments we lease in or overestimating the rents to be paid by our tenants.
In determining whether a particular apartment meets our criteria, we make a number of assumptions, including, among other things, assumptions related to estimated time of negotiation with landlord, estimated renovation costs and time frames, annual operating costs, market rental rates, potential rent amounts, time from lease to sublease and tenant default rates. These assumptions may prove inaccurate, particularly since the apartments we rent from landlords vary materially in terms of renovation, quality and type of construction, geographic location. For example, we utilize our proprietary smart pricing system, or the Smart Pricing System, to collect and analyze the average market rental rates of apartments similar to our rental apartments in the surrounding area and gauge the potential rent amounts of our rental apartments, which partially relies on the publicly available information from the internet and may be inaccurate. See “—We are highly dependent on information systems, and if our information systems contain undetected errors and ineffective algorithm, or we fail to properly maintain or promptly upgrade our technology, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.” As a result, we may pay too much for apartments we lease in and/or overestimate the rents we may charge our tenants, or our rental apartments may fail to perform as anticipated. See “—We may not be able to successfully identify, secure and develop additional apartments in a timely fashion.”
We assess the financial impact of our underperformed apartments that do not meet the projected operating targets by recognizing impairment loss. We perform an assessment of the carrying value of leasehold improvements and furniture, fixtures and equipment used in each rental apartment at least on a quarterly basis. If the carrying amount of the assets exceeds its expected undiscounted cash flows, we will recognize an impairment loss equal to the difference between the carrying amount and the fair value. In FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020, we incurred impairment loss on long-lived assets of RMB50.6 million, RMB46.2 million and RMB846.8 million (US$124.7 million), respectively. If a larger number of our apartments underperform, our impairment loss would increase, and our results of operations and financial condition would be materially and adversely affected.
Our legal right to lease certain rental apartments could be challenged by apartment owners or other third parties or subject to government regulation, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
As we lease our rental apartments from the landlords, we do not hold any land use rights with respect to the land on which our rental apartments are located nor do we own any of the rental apartments we sublease to tenants. Instead, our business model relies on leases with third parties who either own or lease the apartments from the ultimate owners. We have not been provided with the ownership certificates of approximately 52.2% of our rental apartments due to various reasons, including but not limited to landlords’ inability to obtain ownership certificates when the lease agreements were executed, in which case we would require the landlords to provide us with other supporting documents to prove their legitimate titles to the apartments in question. For example, a substantial number of our
leased-in
apartments are real property which is settlement of and compensation for housing demolition. In China, an owner of such real property cannot apply for or acquire the ownership certificate until the
lock-up
period for sale of such real property (typically five years) expires, although he or she has the right to possess, use, benefit from and dispose of (other than sale) such real property during the
lock-up
period. On the other hand, PRC laws expressly provide that the ownership certificate of a real property shall be the legal proof of the title to such real property, and it remains unclear whether any other documents can serve as a legal proof in lieu thereof. As a result, to the extent the person with whom we enter into a
lease-in
contract with fails to provide us with the ownership certificate of the rental apartment, we cannot ensure that he or she has the rights with respect to such apartment, including but not limited to leasing such apartment to us and allowing us to lease such apartment to our tenants. While we have performed our due diligence to verify the rights of our landlords to lease such apartments, we cannot assure you that our rights under those leases will not be challenged by other parties including government authorities.
Under the PRC Civil Code, which has taken effect since January 1, 2021, only the owner can have the right, at its full discretion, to possess, use, benefit and dispose of its immovable or movable property pursuant to law. The creation, variation, transfer and extinguishment of immovable real right pursuant to law shall be effective upon registration, unless the law provides the contrary. Accordingly, the local registration authority will issue to the real property owner a property title certificate which clearly indicates the ownership of the property. If the lessee intends to sublease the leased property to a third party, it shall obtain the prior consent regarding such sublease from the owner, otherwise any unauthorized sublease may be unwound by the owner. Therefore, we require the landlords to provide the photocopies of their property title certificates when entering into the lease agreement, to ensure that we will be legitimately entitled to rent out the apartment to our tenants. However, the landlords of the properties offered by the governments to the landlords whose original properties are expropriated or demolished due to public interests, which account for a large portion of our rental apartments, may have not obtained the property title certificates in a timely manner due to certain local regulations and practices. In the event that landlords intend to lease their apartments to us before obtaining the property title certificates, as part of our due diligence for verification, we require the landlord to provide evidencing documents that can prove their ownership over the leased properties, including, among other things, (i) housing
pre-sale
contract, housing purchase agreement and housing purchase invoice, (ii) demolition compensation agreement and demolition settlement agreement, or (iii) the confirmation letter of random draw for demolition settlement properties, confirmation of housing selection, invoice of property management and utilities bills. However, these substitutive documents do not have the same legal force as the property title certificates, and thus it is possible that the party who signs the lease agreement is not the legal and beneficiary owner registered in the title certificate and the lease agreement may be invalidated, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
 
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In addition, a fraction of our apartments have defects on the land use rights. Under the PRC legal regime regarding the land use right, land shall be used strictly in line with the approved usage of the land. Any change as contemplated to the usages of land shall go through relevant land alteration registration procedures. If any state-owned land is illegally used beyond the approved usage, the land administrative departments of the PRC governments at and above the county level may retrieve the land and impose a fine ranging from RMB10 to RMB30 per square meter of such land. As for our daily operation, approximately 2.2% of our apartments, which we leased from several enterprises, are currently premised on the land with an industrial usage or on the rural collective-owned land, not on the land with a construction usage for dwelling house, which has been in contravention of the aforesaid legal requirements and may subject the landlords to the legal implications that the land is retrieved by the PRC government and a fine will be imposed on the landlord. Although we are not the direct subject of such administrative sanction, our business and operation may be adversely affected by such retrieval of land thus incurred.
In several instances where our landlords are not the ultimate owners of apartments, no consents or permits were obtained from the owners, the primary lease holders or competent government authorities, as applicable, for the subleases of the apartments to us, which could potentially invalidate our leases or result in the renegotiation of such leases that leads to terms less favorable to us. Some of the apartments we lease from third parties were also subject to mortgages at the time the leases were signed. Where consent to the lease was not obtained from the mortgage holder in such circumstances, the lease may not be binding on the transferee of the apartment if the mortgage holder forecloses on the mortgage and transfers the apartment.
Moreover, under PRC laws, all lease agreements are required to be registered with the local housing bureau. Although failure to do so does not in itself invalidate the leases, lessees may not be able to defend these leases against bona fide third parties and may also be exposed to potential fines if they fail to rectify such
non-compliance
within the prescribed timeframe after receiving a notice from the relevant PRC government authorities. While the majority of our standard lease agreements require our landlords to make such registration, most of our leases have not been registered, which may expose both our landlords and us to potential monetary fines ranging from RMB1,000 to RMB10,000 for each unregistered lease, at the discretion of the relevant authority. We are in the process of registering more lease agreements. In the event that any fine is imposed on us for our failure to register our lease agreements, we may not be able to recover such losses from the contract counterparties. Some of our rights under the unregistered leases may also be subordinated to the rights of other interested third parties.
Any challenge to our legal rights to the apartments we rented to the tenants, if successful, could impair the development or operations of such apartments. We are also subject to the risk of potential disputes with apartment owners or third parties who otherwise have rights to or interests in our rental apartments. Such disputes, whether resolved in our favor or not, may divert management’s attention, harm our reputation or otherwise disrupt our business.
 
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We may not be able to effectively control the timing, quality and costs relating to the renovation and maintenance of apartments, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects.
Our success depends on our ability to lease apartments that can be quickly renovated, repaired and leased out with minimal expense and maintained in quality condition. Nearly all of our rental apartments require some level of renovation when we rent them from landlords or following departure of a previous tenant or otherwise. The majority of the apartments we source are in bare-bones condition with cement walls and floors and utility pipes only, which needs decoration and furnishing in a short period of time with heavy work. We may also source apartments that we expect to be in good condition only to discover unforeseen defects and problems that require extensive renovation and costs. Since February 2019, we have started to source decorated and furnished apartments from landlords. Under this model, depending on the decoration quality, we generally only need to add a wall to separate out an additional bedroom from the living room, furnish the additional bedroom, and install smart door locks to the apartment and each bedroom therein, thus substantially reducing our cost for renovation, compared to sourcing bare-bones apartments. Rental cost for furnished apartments, on the other hand, tend to be higher than bare-bones apartments. In addition, from time to time, we may perform ongoing maintenance to our rental apartments. Although we have developed a technology-driven, innovative project management system to centrally manage suppliers and contractors, monitor the renovation process, track delivery schedules, and exert quality control throughout out the entire apartment renovation process to control the timing, quality and costs, our system may not work effectively. See “—We are highly dependent on information systems, and if our information systems contain undetected errors and ineffective algorithm, or we fail to properly maintain or promptly upgrade our technology, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.” As a result, our ability to adequately monitor or manage any such renovations or maintenance may be adversely affected if our system does not work properly.
We retain independent contractors and other third parties to perform renovation and maintenance work and are exposed to all of the risks inherent in apartment renovation and maintenance, including but not limited to, potential cost overruns, increases in labor and materials costs, delays by contractors in completing work and poor workmanship. If our assumptions regarding the costs or timing of renovation and maintenance across our rental apartments prove to be materially inaccurate, our results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects may be adversely affected. In addition, if we fail to control the quality of renovation and lead to any potential complaints from, or damages to, tenants, we could be exposed to material liability and be held responsible for damages, fines or penalties and our reputation may suffer. See “—We depend on third parties for different aspects of our business and the services that we offer. Our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation may be materially and adversely affected if the third parties do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us, or fail to provide services or products according to the terms of our contracts or otherwise below standard, or by the third parties operational failure.” and “—Environmental and fire hazards may adversely affect us.”
Accidents, injuries or death in our rental apartments may adversely affect our reputation and subject us to liability.
There are inherent risks of accidents or injuries in our rental apartments. One or more accidents or injuries such as fire accident, damage or loss of properties injury or death due to any criminal behavior or other misconducts or acts or omission of our tenants or others, slip and fall, other accidents or suicide, or spread of diseases such as the
COVID-19,
in any of our rental apartments could adversely affect our reputation among tenants and potential tenants, decrease our overall occupancy rates and increase our costs by requiring us to take additional measures to vet our tenants and make our safety precautions even more visible and effective. If accidents, injuries or death occur at any of our rental apartments, we may be held liable for costs related to the injuries. Please also refer to “—We do not maintain any insurance for our business, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.”
In addition, if any incidents, particularly fire accidents, occur in any of our rental apartments that do not possess the relevant licenses, permits, title certificate or fire safety inspection certificate, or is located on properties where the actual use and the designated land or property use are inconsistent, there could be substantial negative publicity, thereby triggering large-scale government actions that impact all of our rental apartments, which in turn will have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Environmental and fire hazards may adversely affect us.
Compliance with new or more stringent environmental laws or regulations or stricter interpretation of existing laws may require material expenditures by us. We may be subject to environmental laws or regulations or technical standards relating to the renovation of our rental apartments, such as those concerning poisonous volatile organic compounds or other issues. For example, under the relevant PRC laws, regulations and technical standards, we shall ensure that our rental apartments meet certain environmental standards, including the air quality and environmental protection standards for preventing the indoor environmental hazards generated by construction materials and decorative building materials. We may be subject to civil liabilities or administrative fines for our failure in compliance with all the environmental laws or regulations or technical standards relating to renovation of our rental apartments. Under the PRC laws, if the leased apartment imposes a threat to the safety or health of the tenant, then once the tenant is fully aware that the apartment is not of a satisfactory quality, the tenant is entitled to dissolve the lease agreement at any time. Therefore, we take measures to avoid environmental and fire hazards, including air quality monitoring after renovation and fire precaution measures. However, we cannot assure you that future laws, ordinances or regulations will not impose any material environmental or fire safety liability or that the current environmental condition of our rental apartments will not be affected by the activities of residents, existing conditions of the land, operations in the vicinity of the apartments or the activities of unrelated third parties. In addition, we may be required to comply with various fire, health, life-safety and similar laws and regulations. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in fines and/or damages, suspension of the construction project, civil liability or other sanctions.
 
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We depend on third parties for different aspects of our business and the services that we offer. Our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation may be materially and adversely affected if the third parties do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us, or fail to provide services or products according to the terms of our contracts or otherwise below standard, or by the third parties operational failure.
We depend on third parties for different aspects of our business, including apartment sourcing, renovation, leasing out, management and maintenance. In addition, we rely on third parties for the provision of value-added services to our tenants. Selecting, managing and supervising these third party service providers requires significant resources and expertise. Poor performance by such third party service providers or misconduct or fraud on the part of their employees may reflect poorly on us and could significantly damage our reputation among desirable tenants. In the event of fraud or misconduct by a third party, we could also be exposed to material liability and be held responsible for damages, fines or penalties and our reputation may suffer. If we do not select, manage and supervise appropriate third parties to provide these services and products, our reputation and financial results may suffer.
The service or cooperative agreements we have with third party vendors, service providers or strategic partners are subject to a term, and not on an exclusive basis. If the third party service providers or strategic partners do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us, we would be required to seek new service providers or partners, which would cause delays and adversely affect our operations and the range and quality of the products and services that we offer. Moreover, our strategic partner may compete with us or enter into strategic cooperation with our competitors, which may materially and adversely affect our business and competitive position.
For example, we engage outside contractors for apartment sourcing and management functions. As of September 30, 2020, we had 2,022 apartment managers and 34 agents for apartment sourcing, of whom 1,976 and none was from our outside contractors, respectively. Although the apartment managers and agents for apartment sourcing are supervised by our regional supervisors who are our own employees at more senior positions, we cannot assure you that those from outside contractors will provide services that meet our requirements. Besides, the outside contractors may not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us, and we may not be able to acquire additional apartment managers or agents for apartment sourcing on a timely manner or at all. These may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.
Moreover, we engage third-party contractors and suppliers for our rental apartments’ renovation. If these contractors or suppliers fail to finish the renovation on schedule or below standard, we may incur additional costs and delay to make our apartment suitable for leasing, and may not be able to rent out the apartments in a timely manner and with favorable terms, or at all. Below quality renovation may also expose us to potential complaints from tenants on the conditions of the apartments, including safety hazards as well as significant maintenance and repair costs. In addition, although it is our third-party contractors and suppliers’ responsibility for the salaries of their employees, we may become a target towards which such employees demand their unpaid salaries if our third-party contractors and suppliers withhold or unreasonably deduct their salaries. Pursuant to the PRC Civil Code, where a debtor defaults on its debt obligations, the creditor shall be entitled to retain the already lawfully possessed movable property of the debtor, and have a priority over the movable property in satisfaction of its claim. Despite the fact that the decoration material are legally owned by us, not the third- party contractors or suppliers, we cannot eliminate the possibility that the unpaid employees may retain the decoration materials as a relief they think reasonable. As a result, we request our third-party contractors and suppliers to provide the evidence of payment once the salaries of their employees who have been involved in renovation and maintenance of our rental apartments are paid. However, we cannot assure you that we will not be sued or investigated for our third-party contractors or suppliers’ unpaid salaries, or requested by the local governments to compensate such unpaid employees which may materially and adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operation.
 
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Furthermore, we cooperate with third parties for home cleaning, broadband internet access and other products and services to our tenants. Our customer satisfaction may be adversely affected as a result of any disruption or termination of services of our service provider or partners. In addition, our service providers frequently interact with our tenants. Notwithstanding our efforts to implement and enforce strong policies and practices regarding service providers, we may not successfully detect and prevent fraud, misconduct, incompetence, of our service providers including their employees or stability of their services, which may adversely affect our business and reputation.
A significant portion of our costs and expenses are fixed, and we may not be able to optimize our cost structure to offset declines in our revenue, which would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
A significant portion of our operating costs and expenses, including but not limited to, overhead costs associated with the hiring of agents for apartment sourcing and apartment managers for apartment leasing out and management, employee base salaries, and rents we pay to our landlords, is fixed. Accordingly, a decrease in revenues could result in a disproportionately higher decrease in our earnings because our operating costs and expenses are unlikely to decrease proportionately. For example, the Chinese New Year holidays generally account for a lower portion of our annual revenues than other periods as people are less likely to move into new apartments or stay in rented apartments during that period, but our expenses do not vary as significantly with changes in occupancy and revenues as we need to continue to pay rents and salary and make regular repairs, maintenance and renovations throughout the year to maintain the attractiveness of our rental apartments. Furthermore, our apartment development and renovation costs may increase as a result of an increase in the cost of materials. However, we have limited ability to pass increased costs to tenants through rental rate increases as our rental in lease with our tenants are fixed during the lease term. Therefore, our costs and expenses may remain constant or increase even if our revenues decline, which would adversely affect our net margins and results of operations.
Our outstanding and future indebtedness and capital lease and other financing arrangement payable may adversely affect our available cash flow and our ability to operate our business. In addition, we may not be able to obtain additional capital when desired, on favorable terms or at all.
As of September 30, 2020, we had RMB533.2 million (US$78.5 million) bank borrowings, RMB54.5 million (US$8.0 million) rental installment loans from certain financial institutions and RMB444.6 million (US$65.5 million) capital lease and other financing arrangement payable. In August 2018, we started to cooperate with a rental service company owned by a bank to source and renovate apartments in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wuhan, and we account for the arrangement as a capital lease and other financing arrangement. For further information, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Recent interest rates in China have been at historically low levels, and any increase in these rates would increase our interest expense and reduce our funds available for renovation, operations and other purposes. Our current level of indebtedness increases the possibility that we may be unable to pay the principal amount of our indebtedness and other obligations when due. Our outstanding and future loans, combined with our other financial obligations and contractual commitments, could have negative consequences on our business and financial condition.
We believe that our cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash on hand will be sufficient to meet our current and anticipated needs for general corporate purposes for at least the next 12 months. However, we need to make continued investment for our expansion and in facilities, hardware, software, technological systems and to retain talents to remain competitive. Due to the unpredictable nature of the capital markets and our industry, such as tenants’ unwillingness to prepay rental or utilize the rental installment loans, there can be no assurance that we will be able to raise additional capital on terms favorable to us, or at all, if and when required, especially if we experience disappointing operating results. If adequate capital is not available to us as required, our ability to fund our operations, take advantage of unanticipated opportunities, develop or enhance our infrastructure or respond to competitive pressures could be significantly limited. If we raise additional funds or otherwise fund our operation or investment through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted. These newly issued securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of existing shareholders.
 
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If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately and timely report our financial results or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.
We are a public company listed in the United States subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires us to include a report of management on our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form
20-F
beginning with our annual report for the second fiscal year after the completion of the IPO. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined under the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In the course of preparing and auditing our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified one material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. As defined in the standards established by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a “material weakness” is a deficiency or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
The material weakness identified relates to lack of sufficient accounting and financial reporting personnel with appropriate knowledge of U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting requirements to (a) formalize and carry out key controls over financial reporting, (b) properly address complex accounting issues and (c) prepare and review consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting requirements, and lack of a comprehensive accounting policy manual and closing procedure manual for its finance department to convert its primary financial information prepared under accounting principles generally accepted in the PRC into U.S. GAAP. We established an audit committee in November 2019. We have also engaged an internal control consultant to help us establish and improve our internal controls, hired additional accounting staff with appropriate understanding of U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting requirements, trained the existing financial reporting personnel and engaged an independent third party consultant to assist in establishing processes and oversight measures to comply with the requirements of Sarbanes Oxley Act. We are in the process of implementing a number of measures to address the material weakness that has been identified, including formalizing a set of comprehensive U.S. GAAP accounting manuals, hiring more qualified internal auditors to strengthen our overall governance, providing relevant training to our accounting personnel and upgrading our financial reporting system to streamline monthly and year-end closings and integrate financial and operating reporting systems. We also plan to take other steps to strengthen our internal control over financial reporting, including enhancing our internal audit function independently led by audit committee. Although we plan to implement these measures to address the material weakness, implementation of these measures may not fully remediate the material weakness in a timely manner.
Our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective as of September 30, 2020. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. In addition, as we are a public company, our reporting obligations may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation.
During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act of 2002, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Moreover, our internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect all errors and fraud. A control system, no matter how well it is designed and operated, it cannot provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of the ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions.
 
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We are highly dependent on information systems, and if our information systems contain undetected errors and ineffective algorithm, or we fail to properly maintain or promptly upgrade our technology, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
Our business relies heavily on our technology-driven,
end-to-end
systems that are highly technical and complex. Our website, mobile app and internal systems highly depend on the ability of such information systems to store, retrieve, process and manage immense amounts of data throughout each step of our operational process, including, but not limited to, apartment sourcing, price evaluation, room decoration, room display, contract signing and tenant services. For example, tenants need to use our proprietary mobile apps to sign agreements with us, pay rents, open the doors of the rental apartments and their bedrooms, reserve house-keeping services, etc. We also utilize our Smart Pricing System to evaluate the rents of our apartments. In addition, in July 2020, to replenish and expand our rental units portfolio, one of our subsidiaries entered into agreements with a rental service company and its affiliates to acquire lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures, equipment and other assets for approximately 72,200 rental units in various cities across China. In the process of integrating these rental units into our business, we may continue to rely on the information systems provided by the rental service company to operate these rental units before we transfer all required operating information to our own systems. Although we have taken measures such as manually verifying and reconciling data in the information systems provided by the rental service company with the journal accounts, we cannot ensure that these information systems are effective, reliable and efficient as they have not been fully controlled and monitored by us. The information systems on which we rely has contained, and may now or in the future contain, undetected errors or bugs. Errors, ineffective algorithm or other design defects within the information systems on which we rely may result in a negative experience for our tenants, landlords, third-party service providers, third-party contractors and our employees, delay introductions of new features or enhancements, result in errors or compromise our ability to protect user data or our intellectual property. Any errors, bugs or defects discovered in the information systems on which we rely could result in harm to our reputation, loss of tenants or landlords or liability for damages, any of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Security breaches, failure to maintain the integrity of internal or third-party data, cyber-attacks and other disruptions could compromise our information systems and expose us to costs, liabilities, fines or lawsuits, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer. In addition, actual or alleged failure to comply with data privacy and protection laws and regulations could have a serious adverse effect on our reputation.
Information security risks have generally increased in recent years due to the rise in new technologies and the increased sophistication and activities of perpetrators of cyberattacks. In the ordinary course of our business we acquire and store sensitive data, including our intellectual properties, our proprietary business information and personally identifiable information, such as names, identification card numbers, contacts and electronic signatures, of landlords, tenants, employees and third party contractors and service providers. The secure processing and maintenance of such information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Our landlords, tenants, employees and third party contractors and service providers expect that we will adequately protect their personal information. We are required by applicable laws to keep strictly confidential the personal information that we collect and to take adequate security measures to safeguard such information. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by computer hackers, foreign governments or cyber terrorists or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other unauthorized access or disruptions. Any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored therein could be accessed, publicly disclosed, misused, lost or stolen. Because the techniques used by computer programmers who may attempt to penetrate and sabotage our proprietary internal and third-party data change frequently and may not be recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques.
The laws and regulations applicable to security and privacy are becoming increasingly important in China. Any unauthorized access, disclosure, misuse or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, regulatory penalties, disruption to our operations and the services we provide to customers or damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations, reputation and competitive position.
 
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We leverage a wide array of internet technologies to achieve management and operation efficiency and effectiveness, which depend upon the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure and telecommunications networks in China.
Our business depends on the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure in China. Substantially all access to the internet is maintained through state-controlled telecommunication operators under the administrative control and regulatory supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT. In addition, the national networks in China are connected to the internet through international gateways controlled by the PRC government. These international gateways are generally the only websites through which a domestic user can connect to the internet. We cannot assure you that a more sophisticated internet infrastructure will be developed in China. We may not have access to alternative networks in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with China’s internet infrastructure. In addition, the internet infrastructure in China may not support the demands associated with continued growth in internet usage.
We also rely on third party providers to provide us with data communications capacity primarily through local telecommunications lines and internet data centers to host our servers. We do not have access to alternative services in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with the fixed telecommunications networks of the third-party providers, or if the third-party providers otherwise fail to provide such services. Any unscheduled service interruption could disrupt our operations, damage our reputation and result in a decrease in our revenues. Furthermore, we have no control over the costs of the services provided by third party providers. If the prices that we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our gross margins could be significantly reduced. In addition, if internet access fees or other charges to internet users increase, our user traffic may decrease, which in turn may cause our revenues to decline.
We depend significantly on the strength of our brand and reputation. If we, our employees, agents, third-party contractors, suppliers, financial institutions or other third parties that we cooperate with engage, or are perceived to engage, in misconduct, fraudulent acts or wrongdoing, our business or reputation could be harmed and we could be exposed to regulatory investigations, costs and liabilities.
We believe our “Qingke” brand is considered a leading player in the professionally-managed long-term apartment rental market in China. Our continued success in maintaining and enhancing our brand and image depends to a large extent on our ability to satisfy the needs of agents, real estate buyers and other market participants by further developing and maintaining quality of services across our operations, as well as our ability to respond to competitive pressure.
We have a team of agents for apartment sourcing and apartment managers to manage our apartments and tenants. In addition, we have engaged a third-party contractor to manage rental units in Beijing, Chengdu, Changsha, Fuzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Kunming, Ningbo, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Qingdao, Suzhou, Xi’an, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang and Chongqing after acquiring lease contracts with landlords and tenants and related fixtures and equipment for these rental units from another rental service company. Our agents for apartment sourcing and the contractors may directly reach to landlords, including but not limited to, negotiating the lease agreements with landlords, and our apartment managers and the contractor may directly reach out to tenants, including but not limited to, negotiating the lease agreements with tenants, regular communication with our tenants and inspecting the apartments. As a result, our success of business largely rely on their professionalism. If our agents for apartment sourcing and apartment managers and contractors have any misconduct, such as misrepresentation of the terms and conditions in the agreements when engaging landlords or tenants, our business or reputation could be harmed and we could be exposed to legal proceedings, costs and liabilities.
In addition, third parties that we cooperate with may be subject of various allegations. For example, there have been media reports where our tenant alleged that we and our financial institution partner failed to properly inform him when he entered into a rental installment loan agreement, even though we were not a party to the rental installment loan agreement and there were records showing that the tenant entered into the rental installment loan agreement knowingly. Although we and our financial institution partners have taken measures to avoid similar allegations, including requiring tenants to confirm that they fully understand they are entering into the rental installment loan agreement with a financial institution, we cannot assure you that incidences like this will not happen in the future. Moreover, the contractor we have engaged to manage rental units may have disputes with us, landlords, tenants or other third parties which may lead to negative media reports, litigations, etc. and harm our brand and reputation. Media reports of allegations against us or our partners, whether or not proven or with basis, could harm our reputation and impair our ability to attract and retain landlords and tenants. If we are unable to maintain a good reputation, further enhance our brand recognition, continue to cultivate user trust and increase the positive awareness of our website, mobile app and WeChat public accounts, our reputation, brand, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
 
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Any negative publicity with respect to us, our employees, business partners, contractors, the apartment rental industry in general, the rental installment loans, or our cooperation with other parties may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
The reputation of our brand is critical to our business and competitiveness. Factors that are vital to our reputation include, but are not limited to, our ability to:
 
   
maintain the reliability of our system;
 
   
provide well maintained apartments to tenants;
 
   
provide appropriate and explicit terms, including rental, to landlords and tenants;
 
   
timely and effectively manage and resolve tenants and landlords inquiries, requests and complaints, such as returning the deposit and unused rental in a timely manner after the lease with tenant is terminated; and
 
   
effectively protect personal information and privacy of our tenants, landlords, employees and third party contractors and service providers.
Any malicious or negative allegation made by the media, tenants, landlords or other parties about the foregoing or other aspects of our company, including but not limited to, our management, employees, business partners, contractors, business, compliance with law, financial condition and prospects, whether with merit or not, could severely compromise our reputation and harm our business and operating results.
In addition, negative publicity about rental installment loans, such as negative publicity about entering into rental installment loan agreements without tenants’ acknowledgement, could harm our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
 
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If we fail to comply with governmental laws and regulations, or obtain or keep licenses, permits or approvals applicable to our business, our business and operations may be restricted and we may incur liabilities, financial penalties and other governmental sanctions.
Our business is subject to various compliance and operational requirements under PRC laws. For example, we are required to file the lease contract with the local real estate administration department. See “Item. 4 — B. Business overview — Regulations — Regulations Relating to Leasing.” Furthermore, new regulations may be adopted in the future to increase our compliance efforts at significant costs. For example, national or local regulations requiring companies engaged in apartment rental to register as “apartment rental enterprise” are likely to be promulgated in our existing cities. As of the date of this annual report, all of our PRC subsidiaries that engaged in apartment rental have registered as apartment rental enterprises. We may not be in full compliance with all of the applicable requirements if they are adopted and become effective. Such failure to comply with applicable environmental, health and safety laws and regulations related to our business and apartment rental operation or obtain required permits may subject us to potential monetary damages and fines or the suspension of operations of our company.
In addition, pursuant to PRC regulations, the registered address of a PRC company should be the place where it mainly operates its business, and a PRC company is required to establish branch offices where it operates its business. We seek to register branch offices where we have business operations. However, we have not been able to establish branch offices in some of our existing locations, such as some districts in Beijing, Wuhan and Nanjing, and no penalties had been imposed by the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, as of the date of this annual report. If the PRC regulatory authorities determine that we are in violation of the relevant laws and regulations, we may be subject to penalties, including fines, and our business operations may be adversely affected.
Moreover, under PRC advertising laws and regulations, we shall ensure that our advertising content is true and accurate and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. See “Item. 4 — B. Business overview — Regulations — Regulations on Consumer Protection.” In addition, where a special government review is required for specific types of advertisements prior to internet posting, we are obligated to confirm that such review has been performed and approval has been obtained. Violation of these laws and regulations may subject us to penalties, including imposition of fines, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an announcement correcting the misleading information. While we have made significant efforts to ensure that our advertisements are in full compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we cannot assure you that all the content contained in such advertisements is true and accurate and in compliance with laws and regulations, especially given the uncertainty in the interpretation of these PRC laws and regulations. If we are found to be in violation of applicable PRC advertising laws and regulations, we may be subject to penalties and our reputation may be harmed, which may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
 
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Failure to diversify our revenue streams and expand the market acceptance of our products and services may adversely affect our growth.
Most of our revenue in FY 2018, FY 2019 and FY 2020 was generated from rental income collected from our tenants. We have been expanding and continue to expand our products and services, such as Qingke Select, which is our membership-based new retail platform. However, we cannot assure you that our efforts to derive
non-rental
revenue may be successful. Our success depends on our cooperation with third parties and effectiveness of algorithm. See “—We depend on third parties for different aspects of our business and the services that we offer. Our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation may be materially and adversely affected if the third parties do not continue to maintain or expand their relationship with us, or fail to provide services or products according to the terms of our contracts or otherwise below standard, or by the third parties operational failure.” and “—We are highly dependent on information systems, and if our information systems contain undetected errors and ineffective algorithm, or we fail to properly maintain or promptly upgrade our technology, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.” Failure to diversify our business may expose our business to concentration risks and harm our operations. Furthermore, we may have limited or no experience in the development, provision, or marketing of
non-rental
services. As a result of the foregoing, our business may be placed at a disadvantaged position, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We use internet search engines, online marketplaces, WeChat and other social media to promote our brand, list our rental apartments and direct traffic to our website, mobile app and WeChat public accounts. If we fail to successfully implement these initiatives, we would not be able to attract sufficient tenants and our business would be adversely affected.
We have relied on internet search engines, online marketplaces, WeChat and other social media to promote our brand, list our rental apartments and direct traffic to our website, mobile app and WeChat public account and intend to further increase our usage on such channels in the future to attract more tenants. For example, we use search engine advertising services to promote our brand and rental apartments. We also list our available rental apartments on third-party online marketplaces and the potential tenant may make an appointment to visit and reserve such apartment by calling the number we post on such online marketplace. However, the search result rankings of our rental apartments’ information through online marketplaces are beyond our control. Our competitors may cause their apartments’ information to receive a higher search result ranking than ours in online marketplaces, or online marketplaces could revise their methodologies in a way that would adversely affect search result rankings of our rental apartments’ information, which may adversely affect our results of operation. In addition, internet search engine providers could provide listings and other apartment rental information directly in search results or choose to align with our competitors. Our website has experienced fluctuations in search result rankings in the past, and we anticipate similar fluctuations in the future.
We plan to integrate our business with our WeChat public accounts and other social media applications to promote our brand and products. WeChat and other social media may make changes to their policies, which could hinder or impede potential tenants from being directed to our website or information of our rental apartments. Any reduction in the number of visitors directed to our website and mobile apps through our WeChat public accounts and other social media could also harm our business and operating results.
Any failure to protect our patents, trademarks, computer software copyright and other intellectual property rights could have a negative impact on our business.
Our business heavily relies on our intellectual properties and information systems throughout each step of our business. Our protection for our intellectual property and proprietary rights may not be adequate, and our business may suffer if third parties infringe on our intellectual property and proprietary rights.
 
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We may not have sufficient intellectual property rights in all countries and regions where unauthorized third-party copying or use of our proprietary technology may occur and the scope of our intellectual property might be more limited in certain countries and regions. As of September 30, 2020, we had 33 computer software copyrights registered with the Copyright Protection Center of China. However, our existing and future computer software copyrights and/or patents may not be sufficient to protect our products, services, technologies or designs and/or may not prevent others from developing competing products, services, technologies or designs. We cannot predict the validity and enforceability of our copyrights and other intellectual property with certainty. Litigation or other proceedings may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights. Initiating infringement proceedings against third parties can be expensive and time-consuming, and divert management’s attention from other business concerns. We may not prevail in litigation to enforce our intellectual property against unauthorized use.
We may be subject to intellectual property infringement or misappropriation claims by third parties, which may force us to incur substantial legal expenses and, if determined adversely against us, could materially disrupt our business.
We cannot be certain that our services, information systems, information provided on our website, WeChat public accounts and mobile apps, as well as third-party systems and apps we use do not or will not infringe patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims alleging infringement of patents, trademarks or copyrights, or misappropriation of creative ideas or formats, or other infringement of proprietary intellectual property rights.
The validity, enforceability and scope of intellectual property rights protection in internet-related industries, particularly in China, are uncertain and still evolving. For example, as we face increasing competition and litigation is frequently used to resolve disputes in China, we face a higher risk of being the subject of intellectual property infringement claims. Pursuant to relevant laws and regulations, internet service providers may be held liable for damages if such providers have reasons to know that the works uploaded or linked infringe the copyrights of others. In cases involving the unauthorized posting of copyrighted content by users on websites in China, there have been court proceedings but no settled court practice as to when and how hosting providers and administrators of a website can be held liable for the unauthorized posting by third parties of copyrighted material. Any such proceeding could result in significant costs to us and divert our management’s time and attention from the operation of our business, as well as potentially adversely impact our reputation, even if we are ultimately absolved of all liability.
Our inability to use software licensed from third parties, including open source software, could negatively affect our ability to offer our services and subject us to possible litigation.
A portion of the technologies we use incorporates open source software, and we may incorporate open source software in the future. Such open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses. These licenses may subject us to certain unfavorable conditions, including requirements that we offer our services that incorporate the open source software for no cost, that we make publicly available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating, or using the open source software, or that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of the particular open source license.
Additionally, if a third-party software provider has incorporated open source software into software that we license from such provider, we could be required to disclose or provide at no cost any of our source code that incorporates or is a modification of such licensed software. If an author or any third party that distributes open source software that we use or license were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of the applicable license, we may need to incur significant legal expenses defending against such allegations and could be subject to significant damages and enjoined from providing services that contained the open source software. Any of the foregoing could result in disruptions to our business, or delays in the development of future enhancements of our existing platform, which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Failure to attract, motivate and retain quality personnel at a reasonable cost could jeopardize our competitive position. We also depend on the continued efforts of our senior management. We have experienced a leadership transition and this transition, along with the possibility that we may in the future be unable to retain and recruit qualified senior management team members and directors, may delay our development efforts or otherwise harm our business.
We have, from time to time in the past, experienced, and we expect in the future to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining employees with appropriate qualifications. There may be a limited supply of qualified individuals in some of the cities in China where we have operations and other cities into which we intend to expand. As a result, we may need to offer higher compensation and other benefits in order to attract and retain quality personnel in the future, which may increase our labor costs and adversely affect our business.
 
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We must hire and train qualified managerial and other employees on a timely basis to keep pace with our growth while maintaining consistent quality of services across our operations in various geographic locations. We offer structured training programs provided by our Qingke College and regional management teams to our managerial and other employees so that they are equipped with
up-to-date
knowledge of various aspects of our operations and can meet our demand for high-quality services. If we fail to do so, the quality of our services may decline in one or more of our existing markets, which in turn may cause a negative perception of our brand and adversely affect our business.
We have experienced a leadership transition. Mr. Guangjie Jin resigned as our chief executive officer, chairman of the board of directors, director, chairman and member of the compensation committee and chairman and member of the nominating and corporate governance committee, effective January 28, 2021. Ms. Qiong Hong resigned as our director and member of the nominating and corporate governance committee, effective January 28, 2021. Mr. Zhaochun Zheng, Ms. Kaiyu Yao and Mr. Wing Cheung Ryan Law resigned as our directors, effective January 28, 2021. Mr. Chengcai Qu, our vice president, was appointed as our director, effective March 23, 2020, as our chief operating officer effective June 12, 2020, and as our chief executive officer, chairman of the board of directors, chairman and member of the compensation committee and chairman and member of the nominating and corporate governance committee effective January 28, 2021. Mr. Zhichen (Frank) Sun was appointed as our chief financial officer in January 2020. Ms. Jackie Qiang You was appointed as chief strategy officer and senior vice president in January 2020, and resigned in May 2020. On January 28, 2021, all outstanding share capital of Yijia Inc., which beneficially owns 180,389,549 Class B ordinary shares, was transferred from an affiliate of Mr. Guangjie Jin to High Gate Investments Ltd., which is beneficially owned by Mr. Edmund Koon Kay Tang, as reported in the Schedule 13D filed by High Gate Investments Ltd., among others, on February 2, 2021. Upon completion of this transfer, High Gate Investments Ltd. beneficially owns 180,389,549 Class B ordinary shares, representing 12.6% of the total outstanding ordinary shares and 59.0% of the aggregating voting power in our company.
We place substantial reliance on the experience and the institutional knowledge of members of our management team and directors. Our members of the management team are particularly important to our future success due to their substantial experiences in real estate, apartment rental and other related industries. Finding suitable replacements for our members of our management team could be difficult, and competition for such personnel of similar experience is intense. The loss of the services of one or more members of our management team due to their departures or otherwise could hinder our ability to effectively manage our business and implement our growth strategies. In addition, in the event that any dispute arises between us, on one hand, and any of our senior management, directors and qualified key personnel, on the other hand, our business, results of operation, financial condition and reputation may be materially and adversely affected.
We have granted, and may continue to grant, options, restricted share units and other types of awards, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.
We have granted, and may continue to grant, options, restricted share units and other types of awards to our employees and other persons who contributed to the success of our operations. We account for the compensation costs for our share-based incentives using a fair-value based method and recognize expenses in our consolidated statements of comprehensive loss in accordance with U.S. GAAP. As of the date of this annual report, we issued 86.0 million ordinary shares to Yijia Inc., which are reserved for share-based awards we have granted, or may grant in the future. As of the date of this annual report, we had granted an aggregate number of 70.0 million share options to certain management, employees and
non-employees,
28.25 million of which had been forfeited as of the date of this annual report. As of the date of this annual report, the remaining 41.75 million shares options are outstanding. The expense we had recognized for these outstanding share options is US$2.1 million as of the date of this annual report. As of the date of this annual report, no RSU is outstanding. In addition, in September 2019, our board of directors approved our 2019 share incentive plan, or the 2019 Plan, to provide incentives to employees, officers, directors and consultants and promote the success of our business. The 2019 Plan became effective immediately upon the completion of our initial public offering. The maximum number of shares that may be issued under the 2019 Plan is 10% of the total outstanding shares as of the date of the consummation of our initial public offering. As of the date of this annual report, we have not granted any awards under the 2019 Plan.
 
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Table of Contents
We believe the granting of share-based compensation is of significant importance to our ability to attract and retain key personnel and employees, and we will continue to grant share-based compensation to them in the future. As a result, our expenses associated with share-based compensation may increase, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted if we issue ordinary shares for share-based compensation.
Increases in labor costs and raw materials and enforcement of stricter labor laws and regulations in the PRC may adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Labor costs in China have risen in recent years as a result of the enactment of new labor laws and social development. Given that substantially all of our employees are currently located in China, rising labor costs in China will increase our personnel expenses. In addition, we have witnessed growing inflation rates in many areas of the world, and particularly in China, where we procure our raw materials for renovation of apartments, which adversely affects our costs of raw materials. We may not be able to pass on rising costs as a result of higher labor costs and increasing raw material prices to our tenants in the form of higher rents. Accordingly, our financial condition may be adversely affected if labor costs and raw material prices continue to rise in the future.
Companies operating in China are required to participate in various government sponsored employee benefit plans, including certain social insurance, housing funds and other welfare-oriented payment obligations, and contribute to the plans in amounts equal to certain percentages of salaries, including bonuses and allowances, of our employees up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time at our existing locations. The requirement of employee benefit plans has not been implemented consistently by the local governments in China given the different levels of economic development in different locations. Companies operating in China are also required to withhold individual income tax on employees’ salaries based on the actual salary of each employee upon payment.
In addition, we have been subject to stricter regulatory requirements in terms of entering labor contracts with our employees and paying various statutory employee benefits, including pensions, housing funds, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and childbearing insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees. Pursuant to the PRC Labor Contract Law, as amended, or the Labor Contract Law, and its implementation rules, employers are subject to various requirements in terms of signing labor contracts, minimum wages, paying remuneration, determining the term of employees’ probation and unilaterally terminating labor contracts. In the event that we decide to terminate some of our employees or otherwise change our employment or labor practices, the Labor Contract Law and its implementation rules may limit our ability to effect those changes in a desirable or cost-effective manner, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Under the PRC Social Insurance Law and the Administrative Measures on Housing Fund, employees are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance, and housing funds, and employers are required, together with their employees or separately, to pay the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees. Employers that fail to make adequate social insurance and housing fund contributions may be subject to fines and legal sanctions. We could be deemed to have failed to pay certain social insurance and housing fund contributions under the relevant PRC laws and regulation. If the relevant PRC authorities determine that we shall make supplemental contributions, that we are not in compliance with labor laws and regulations, or that we are subject to fines or other legal sanctions, such as order of timely rectification, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Furthermore, as the interpretation and implementation of labor-related laws and regulations are still evolving, we cannot assure you that our employment practice do not and will not violate labor-related laws and regulations in China, which may subject us to labor disputes or government investigations. If we are deemed to have violated relevant labor laws and regulations, we could be required to provide additional compensation to our employees and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 
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Our financial condition and results of operations may fluctuate due to seasonal variations in the demand of rental apartments.
Our revenues were generally higher during the three months ended September 30 of each year, as many students search for apartments in the cities where they are employed after graduation from universities. In addition, during and around the Chinese New Year holidays, which usually fall in January or February, our revenues were generally lower than the other period of the year as people are less likely to move into new apartments or stay in rented apartments during and around Chinese New Year holidays. As a result, even though our revenues rebound in March due to higher demand as labor forces come back to cities in search of jobs after the Chinese New Year holidays, our revenues were generally lower during the three months ended March 31 of each year. Additionally, the
COVID-19
pandemic has adversely affected our seasonality pattern from January to August 2020. For these reasons, our results of operations may not be comparable from quarter to quarter and have been and may continue to be subject to seasonality.
We do not maintain any insurance for our business, which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.
We do not have any business disruption insurance, litigation insurance coverage, insurance policies covering damages to our IT infrastructure or information system, insurance on properties or tenant safety insurance, or insurance for the contractors. Any disruption to our IT infrastructures or systems, business disruption, litigation or natural disaster could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources, as well as significantly disrupt our operations, and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.
Moreover, to improve our performance and to prevent disruption of our business, we may have to make substantial investments to deploy additional servers and backup our databases, which could increase our expenses.
Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure
If the PRC government deems that the contractual arrangements in relation to our variable interest entity do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.
Foreign ownership of internet-based businesses, such as distribution of online information and other value-added telecommunication services, are subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. For example, foreign investors are generally not allowed to own more than 50% of the equity interests in a value-added telecommunication service provider and any such foreign investor must have experience in providing value-added telecommunications services overseas and maintain a good track record in accordance with the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment promulgated in 2007, as amended in 2011, 2015 and 2017, and other applicable laws and regulations.
We are a Cayman Islands company and Shanghai Qingke Investment Consulting Co., Ltd., or the Q&K WFOE, our PRC subsidiary, is considered a foreign invested enterprise. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we conduct our operations in China through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among the Q&K WFOE, Shanghai Qingke
E-commerce
Co., Ltd, or the VIE, and the shareholders of the VIE. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we exert control over the VIE and consolidate its operating results in our financial statements under U.S. GAAP. Shanghai Qingke Equipment Rental Co., the subsidiary of the VIE, has been operating our business, including, among others, operations of our
www.qk365.com
website since its incorporation. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and its Shareholders” for more details. The VIE has obtained a value-added telecommunications service license for operations of internet content service, or the ICP License, from Shanghai Bureau of Communication Management on April 29, 2015, which will remain valid until March 31, 2021.
We believe that our corporate structure and contractual arrangements comply with the current applicable PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC legal counsel, JunHe LLP, based on its understanding of the relevant laws and regulations, is of the opinion that each of the contracts among the Q&K WFOE, the VIE and its shareholders are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms. However, as there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of PRC laws and regulations, including the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, and the Telecommunications Regulations and the relevant regulatory measures concerning the telecommunications industry, there can be no assurance that the PRC government authorities, such as the Ministry of Commerce, or the MOC, the MIIT, or other authorities that regulate the foreign investment or the telecommunications industry, would agree that our corporate structure or any of the above contractual arrangements comply with PRC licensing, registration or other regulatory requirements, with existing policies or with requirements or policies that may be adopted in the future. PRC laws and regulations governing the validity of these contractual arrangements are uncertain and the relevant government authorities have broad discretion in interpreting these laws and regulations.
 
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If our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are deemed by the MIIT or the MOC or other regulators having competent authority as illegal, either in whole or in part, we may lose control of our variable interest entity and have to modify such structure to comply with regulatory requirements. However, there can be no assurance that we can achieve this without material disruption to our business. Further, if our corporate structure and contractual arrangements are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or we or the VIE fails to obtain or maintain any required permits or approvals, the relevant regulatory authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:
 
   
revoking our business and operating licenses;
 
   
levying fines on us;
 
   
confiscating any of our income that they deem to be obtained through illegal operations;
 
   
shutting down our services;
 
   
discontinuing or restricting our operations in China;
 
   
imposing conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply;
 
   
requiring us to change our corporate structure and contractual arrangements;
 
   
restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds from overseas offering to finance our variable interest entity’s business and operations; and
 
   
taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.
The imposition of any of the penalties above may materially and adversely affect our ability to conduct our business. In addition, it is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, regulations or rules relating to the “variable interest entity” structure will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. See “—Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the PRC Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.”
We rely on contractual arrangements with our variable interest entity and its shareholders for a significant portion of our business operations, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.
We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with the VIE and its shareholders to operate our website,
www.qk365.com
, as well as certain other complementary businesses. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with the VIE and its Shareholders” for more details. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the VIE. For example, the VIE and its shareholders may fail to fulfill their contractual obligations with us, such as failure to maintain our website and use the domain names and trademarks in a manner as stipulated in the contractual arrangements, or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests.
If we had direct ownership of the VIE, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of the VIE, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by the VIE and its shareholders of their obligations under these contracts to exercise control over the VIE. However, the shareholders of the VIE may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate our business through the contractual arrangements with the VIE. Although we have the right to replace any shareholder of the VIE under the contractual arrangements, if any shareholder is uncooperative or any dispute relating to these contracts remains unresolved, we will have to enforce our rights under these contracts through the operations of PRC laws and arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings, the outcome of which will be subject to uncertainties. See “—Any failure by our variable interest entity or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.” Therefore, our contractual arrangements with the VIE may not be as effective in ensuring our control over the relevant portion of our business operations as direct ownership would be.
 
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Any failure by our variable interest entity or its shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.
If the VIE or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC laws, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you will be effective under PRC laws. For example, if the shareholders of the VIE were to refuse to transfer their equity interest in the VIE to us or our designee if we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.
All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC laws and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China (the arbitration provisions relate to the claims arising out of the contractual relationship created by the VIE agreements, rather than claims under the United States federal securities laws and do not prevent shareholders of our company from pursuing claims under the United States federal securities laws). Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC laws. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC laws, rulings by arbitrators are final and parties cannot appeal arbitration results in court unless such rulings are revoked or determined unenforceable by a competent court. If the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event that we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over the VIE and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to us.”
The shareholders of our variable interest entity may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.
The shareholders of the VIE may have potential conflicts of interest with us. These shareholders may not act in the best interest of our company or may breach, or cause the VIE to breach, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and the VIE, which would have a material adverse effect on our ability to effectively control the VIE and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with the VIE to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. Neither Bing Xiao or the management or shareholders of Xiamen Siyuan Investment Management Co., Ltd., shareholders of the VIE, are our management or employee. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor.
Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company, except that we could exercise our purchase option under the exclusive option agreement with these shareholders to request them to transfer all of their equity interests in the VIE to the Q&K WFOE or an entity or individual designated by us, to the extent permitted by PRC laws. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholders of the VIE, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in the disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.
 
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Contractual arrangements in relation to our variable interest entity may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our PRC variable interest entity owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.
Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law requires every enterprise in China to submit its annual enterprise income tax return together with a report on transactions with its related parties to the relevant tax authorities. The tax authorities may impose reasonable adjustments on taxation if they have identified any related party transactions that are inconsistent with arm’s length principles. We may face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements among the Q&K WFOE, the VIE and the shareholders of the VIE were not entered into on an arm’s length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust the income of our affiliated entities in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by the VIE for PRC tax purposes, which could increase the tax liabilities of our affiliated entities without reducing the Q&K WFOE’s tax expenses. In addition, if the Q&K WFOE requests the shareholders of the VIE to transfer their equity interests in the VIE at nominal or no value pursuant to these contractual arrangements, such transfer could be viewed as a gift and subject the Q&K WFOE to PRC income tax. Furthermore, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on the VIE for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our variable interest entity’s tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.
We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by our variable interest entity that are material to the operation of our business if the entity goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.
The VIE holds certain assets that are material to the operation of our business, including domain names and an ICP license. Under the contractual arrangements, the VIE may not and its shareholders may not cause it to, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of its assets or its legal or beneficial interests in the business without our prior consent. However, in the event that the VIE’s shareholders breach the contractual arrangements and voluntarily liquidate the VIE, or if the VIE declares bankruptcy and all or part of its assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, or are otherwise disposed of without our consent, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the VIE undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, independent third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Substantially all of our operations are located in China and all of our revenue is sourced from China. Accordingly, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic and social conditions in China generally and by continued economic growth in China as a whole.
The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the amount of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.