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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

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 December 31, 2023.

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

Commission file number: 001-33863

XINYUAN REAL ESTATE CO., LTD.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

27/F, China Central Place, Tower II

79 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District

Beijing 100025

People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Yong Zhang

Xinyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd.

27F, China Central Place, Tower II,

79 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District

Beijing 100025

People’s Republic of China

Tel: (86-10) 8588-9255

Fax: (86-10) 8588-9300

Email: irteam@xyre.com

(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

American Depositary Shares, each representing 20 common shares, par value US$0.0001 per share

XIN

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

None

(Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the Issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report. 112,273,601 common shares, par value US$0.0001 per share, as of December 31, 2023.

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

Note - Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

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 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 definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

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.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

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 by the International Accounting Standards Board  

Other  

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

 

 

 

Page

INTRODUCTION

1

PART I

5

ITEM 1

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

5

ITEM 2

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

5

ITEM 3

KEY INFORMATION

5

 

A.

[Reserved]

5

 

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

5

 

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

5

 

D.

Risk Factors

5

ITEM 4

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

48

 

A.

History and Development of the Company

48

 

B.

Business Overview

49

 

C.

Organizational Structure

88

 

D.

Property, plant and equipment

88

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

88

ITEM 5

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

88

 

A.

Operating Results

89

 

B.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

115

 

C.

Research and Development, Patent and Licenses, etc.

125

 

D.

Trend Information

125

 

E.

Critical Accounting Estimates

125

ITEM 6

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

128

 

A.

Directors and Senior Management

128

 

B.

Compensation

130

 

C.

Board Practices

137

 

D.

Employees

140

i

 

E.

Share Ownership

140

ITEM 7

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

142

 

A.

Major Shareholders

142

 

B.

Related Party Transactions

142

 

C.

Interests of Experts and Counsel

142

ITEM 8

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

142

 

A.

Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

142

 

B.

Significant Changes

143

ITEM 9

THE OFFER AND LISTING

143

 

A.

Offer and Listing Details

143

 

B.

Plan of Distribution

143

 

C.

Markets

143

 

D.

Selling Shareholders

143

 

E.

Dilution

143

 

F.

Expenses of the Issue

143

ITEM 10

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

143

 

A.

Share Capital

143

 

B.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

144

 

C.

Material Contracts

146

 

D.

Exchange Controls

146

 

E.

Taxation

146

 

F.

Dividends and Paying Agents

150

 

G.

Statement by Experts

151

 

H.

Documents on Display

151

 

I.

Subsidiary Information

151

ITEM 11

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

151

ITEM 12

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

153

ii

 

 

 

PART II

155

 

 

 

ITEM 13

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

155

ITEM 14

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

155

ITEM 15

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

155

ITEM 16A.

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

157

ITEM 16B.

CODE OF ETHICS

157

ITEM 16C.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

158

ITEM 16D.

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

158

ITEM 16E.

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

158

ITEM 16F.

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

159

ITEM 16G.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

160

ITEM 16H.

MINE SAFETY

160

ITEM 16I.

DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS

160

ITEM 16J.

INSIDER TRADING POLICIES

161

ITEM 16K.

CYBERSECURITY

161

PART III

162

ITEM 17

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

162

ITEM 18

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

162

ITEM 19

EXHIBITS

162

iii

INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F to:

“we,” “us,” “our company,” “the Company,” “our,” “the Group” or “Xinyuan” are to Xinyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd., its predecessor entities and its subsidiaries;
“shares” or “common shares” are to our common shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each of which represents 20 common shares, and “ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts that evidence our ADSs;
“China” or “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China;
“U.K.” are to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
“U.S.” or “United States” are to the United States of America;
“GFA” are to gross floor area. The amounts for “total GFA” in this annual report are the amounts of total saleable residential and commercial GFA and are derived on the following basis:
for properties that are sold, the stated GFA is based on the sales contracts relating to such property; GFA may be adjusted based on final examination upon delivery of the property;
for unsold properties that are completed or under construction, the stated GFA is calculated based on the detailed construction blueprint and the calculation method approved by the PRC government for saleable GFA, after necessary adjustments; and
for properties that are under planning, the stated GFA is based on the land grant contract and our internal projection;
“RMB” or “Renminbi” are to the legal currency of China and “US$” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States; and
“sq.m” are to square meters used as unit of area.

As of the date of this report, there is no uniform standard to categorize the different types and sizes of cities in China. In this annual report, we refer to certain larger and more developed cities as tier I, tier II and tier III cities based on the categorization developed by China Business Network Co., Ltd., a financial media group. Their ranking system relies on commercial data from over 170 brands, customer behavior data from 19 internet companies, as well as data from relevant statistics institutions.

Facts and statistics in this annual report relating to China, the Chinese economy and the China property development industry are sourced from various publicly available government and official sources, as indicated herein and may include projections based on a number of assumptions. Although we believe that the sources of this information are appropriate sources for such information, we cannot independently verify such information. Further, if one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data turn out to be incorrect, the actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. However, we acknowledge our responsibility for all disclosures in this annual report.

1

This annual report includes our audited consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Our financial statements and other financial data included in this annual report are presented in U.S. dollars. Our business and operations are primarily conducted in China through our PRC subsidiaries. The functional currency of our PRC subsidiaries is RMB. The functional currency of our U.S. subsidiaries is the U.S. dollar. The financial statements of our PRC subsidiaries are translated into U.S. dollars, using published exchange rates in China, based on (i) year-end exchange rates for assets and liabilities and (ii) average yearly exchange rates for revenue and expenses. Capital accounts are translated at historical exchange rates when the transactions occurred. The effects of foreign currency translation adjustments are included as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income in our shareholders’ equity. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollar or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all.

The RMB is not freely convertible into foreign currency. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of the RMB into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade. Since 2005, the People’s Bank of China, or the “PBOC,” has allowed the RMB to fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of foreign currencies, according to market demand and supply conditions.

Our common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, or the NYSE, in the form of ADSs under the symbol “XIN.” Each ADS represents 20 common shares. The closing price of our ADSs on the NYSE as of May 14, 2024 was US$2.69 per ADS.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

2

You can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “is expected to,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions or negatives of such expressions. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about:

our anticipated growth strategies;
our future business development, results of operations and financial condition;
our expectations with respect to our ability to acquire adequate suitable land use rights for future development; and
our belief with respect to market opportunities in, and growth prospects of, our target markets.

We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. However, a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could affect the accuracy of these statements. Among the important factors to consider in evaluating our forward-looking statements are:

our ability to continue to implement our business model successfully;
our ability to secure adequate financing for our project developments;
our ability to successfully sell or complete our property projects under construction and planning;
our ability to enter into new geographic markets or new lines of business and expand our operations;
the marketing and sales ability of our third-party sales agents;
the performance of our third-party contractors;
laws, regulations and policies relating to real estate developers and the real estate industry in the markets in which we operate;
our ability to obtain permits and licenses to carry on our business in compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
our ability to satisfy our obligations under our debt securities and other indebtedness;
competition from other real estate developers;
the growth of the real estate industry in the markets in which we operate;
fluctuations in general economic and business conditions in the markets in which we operate, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics; and
volatility of the trading price of our ADSs and risks associated with our ADSs if the trading price remains below US$1.00 or if the average global market capitalization is less than $15,000,000 for 30 consecutive trading days or more.

3

You should read thoroughly this annual report and the documents that we refer to herein with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and/or worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements. Other sections of this annual report include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance, including the risks outlined under “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors.” Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. 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. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by applicable securities laws.

4

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.[Reserved]

B.Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not Applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not Applicable.

D.

Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business

We are a holding company that depends on dividend payments from our subsidiaries for funding.

We are a holding company established in the Cayman Islands; we operate most of our business and operations through our subsidiaries in China. Our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders and to service our indebtedness outside of China depends significantly upon dividends that we receive from our subsidiaries in China. To the extent our U.S., Malaysia and U.K. operations continue to grow, we may in the future also depend on dividends from our U.S., Malaysia, or U.K. subsidiaries. If our subsidiaries incur indebtedness or losses, such indebtedness or losses may impair their ability to pay dividends or other distributions to us. As a result, our ability to pay dividends and to service our indebtedness will be restricted. Regulations in China currently permit payment of dividends only out of accumulated after-tax profits upon satisfaction of relevant statutory conditions and procedures, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. Each of our PRC subsidiaries, including wholly foreign-owned enterprises and domestic companies, is required to set aside at least 10.0% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until the cumulative amount of such reserves reaches 50.0% of its respective registered capital and, with the approval of a shareholder meeting or general shareholder meeting, a PRC subsidiary may set aside a certain amount of after-tax profits to its discretionary general reserves. As of December 31, 2023, our statutory reserves amounted to US$179.8 million. Our statutory reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Dividends paid by the PRC subsidiaries may also be subject to PRC withholding tax. In addition, restrictive covenants in bank credit facilities, bonds, other long-term debt agreements, joint venture agreements or other agreements that we or our subsidiaries currently have or may enter into in the future may also restrict the ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions to us and our ability to receive distributions. Therefore, these restrictions on the availability and usage of our major source of funding may impact our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders and to service our indebtedness.

5

Our business and prospects are heavily dependent on and may be adversely affected by the performance of the PRC property markets, particularly in Zhengzhou.

Our business and prospects depend on the performance of the PRC property market. As of December 31, 2023, we had a total of 104 property projects covering 20 cities in China at various stages of development. We intend to continue to enhance our presence in targeted high-growth cities in China. These property markets may be affected by local, regional, national and global factors, including economic and financial conditions, speculative activities in local markets, demand for and supply of properties, investor confidence, availability of alternative investment choices for property buyers, inflation, government policies, interest rates and availability of capital. Any market downturn in China generally or in cities in which we have or expect to have operations may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Moreover, any oversupply of properties or potential decline in demand for or prices of properties in these cities could also have a material adverse impact on us. In particular, the PRC property market is affected by the recent slowdown of China’s economic growth. There have been increasing concerns over the sustainability of the real estate market growth in China. Any slowdown in the PRC’s economic development could lead to tighter credit markets, increased market volatility, sudden drops in business and consumer confidence and dramatic changes in business and consumer behaviors. In response to their perceived uncertainty in economic conditions, consumers might delay, reduce or cancel purchases of homes, and our homebuyers may also defer, reduce or cancel purchases of our units. We have experienced volatilities in demand from time to time in the recent years due to the strict mortgage policy and other measures taken by the PRC government to slow down the rapid increase in housing prices. To the extent any fluctuations in the Chinese economy significantly affect homebuyers’ demand for our units or change their spending habits, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. The PRC’s economy also faces challenges in the short to medium term. Continued turbulence in the international markets and prolonged declines in consumer spending, including home purchases, as well as any slowdown of economic growth in China, may adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.

Our business requires access to substantial financing. Our failure to obtain adequate financing in a timely manner could severely adversely restrict our ability to complete existing projects, expand our business, or repay our obligations and affect our financial performance and condition.

Our property development business is capital intensive. To date, we have funded our operations primarily through bank borrowings, proceeds from sales and pre-sale of our properties and proceeds from issuance of equity and debt securities. We obtain commercial bank financing for our projects through credit lines extended on a case-by-case basis. Our ability to secure sufficient financing for land use rights acquisition and property development and repayment of our existing onshore and offshore debt obligations depends on a number of factors that are beyond our control, including lenders’ perceptions of our creditworthiness, sufficiency of collateral, if any, market conditions in the capital markets, investors’ perception of our securities, the PRC economy and PRC government regulations that affect the availability and cost of financing for real estate companies or property purchasers.

Since 2003, PRC commercial banks have been prohibited, under the guidelines of the PBOC, from advancing loans to fund the payment of land use rights. We generate significant cash flow through pre-sale, which are subject to government restrictions. In particular, PRC regulations on the pre-sale of properties generally provide that the proceeds from the pre-sale of a real estate project may only be used for the construction of such project. Any additional potential government restrictions on pre-sale could significantly increase our financing needs. Moreover, our ability to move cash through inter-company transfers or transfer funds from onshore subsidiaries to our offshore parent company is limited by PRC government regulations, which limits our ability to use excess cash resources in one subsidiary to fund the obligations of another subsidiary or our offshore parent company. In addition, reserve requirement applicable to PRC commercial banks generally limits, and any increases in such reserve requirements could further limit, the amount of commercial bank credit available to businesses in China, including us.

Furthermore, various other PRC regulations restrict our ability to raise capital through external financing and other methods, including, without limitation, the following:

we cannot borrow from a PRC bank for a particular project if we do not have the land use rights certificate for that project;
we cannot pre-sell uncompleted residential units in a project prior to achieving certain development milestones specified in related regulations;

6

we cannot borrow from a PRC bank for a particular project unless we fund at least 35% of the total investment amount of that project from our own capital;
property developers are strictly restricted from using the proceeds from a loan obtained from a local bank to fund property developments outside the region where that bank is located; and
PRC banks are prohibited from accepting properties that have been vacant for more than three years as collateral for loans.

On February 13, 2017, the Asset Management Association of China issued the Administrative Rules for the Filing of Private Equity and Asset Management Plans by Securities and Futures Institutions No. 4—Investment in Real Estate Developers and Projects by Private Equity and Asset Management Plans, or “Rule 4.” Rule 4 provides that the Asset Management Association of China will temporarily suspend accepting any private equity and asset management plan which makes a direct or indirect investment in any ordinary residential property project located in specified cities where the property prices are considered to have risen too fast, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Jinan and Chengdu, where the Company operates. In addition, a private equity and asset management plan may not be used to finance any real estate developer, whether in the form of bank entrusted loans, trust plans or transfers of beneficial interests in assets, for the purpose of acquiring land use rights or supplementing working capital.

On August 20, 2020, PBOC and Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, or the “MOHURD,” jointly held a conference with 12 major real estate development companies in China. At the conference, PBOC and MOHURD proposed a pilot plan to regulate the financing activity of real estate development companies. The pilot plan sets three goals for real estate development companies: the debt asset ratio will not exceed 70% after deducting advance proceeds from projects sold; net debt to equity ratio will not exceed 100%; and the ratio of balance of cash and cash equivalent to short-term borrowings will be at least 1. Based on the number of goals completed, the upper limit of annual growth rate of interest-bearing liabilities of a real estate development company varies from 5% to 15%. The pilot plan was supposed to become a formal policy in 2021; nevertheless, the governmental authority has not issued any relevant regulations or policies.

On December 31, 2020, PBOC and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, or “CBIRC”, collectively issued the Notice on the Establishment of a Concentration Administration System for Real Estate Loans from Banking Financial Institutions, or the “2021 Notice”, which took effect on January 1, 2021. The 2021 Notice divides all Chinese-funded banks into five (5) levels and sets different limitation on banks in different levels to provide real estate loans. For example, the amount of outstanding real estate loans of a bank in Level 1 must not account for more than 40% of its total outstanding RMB loans, while the amount of outstanding real estate loans of a bank in Level 5 must not account for more than 12.5% of its total outstanding loans denominated in RMB.

7

While the PRC government has adopted or adjusted the measures mentioned above and may adopt or adjust other measures in the future seeking to support the healthy development of the residential real estate market in China, the government policies significantly impacted the residential real estate market in the past few years. For example, a few real estate developers, such as China Evergrande Group, Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd., Yango Group Co. and us, have experienced decreasing transaction volumes in the Chinese residential real estate market, closing of certain financing opportunities and significant challenges and pressure on short-term liquidity in 2021. The crisis has also led to notable bankruptcies, with China’s largest developer, Country Garden, causing investor concerns about potential loan defaults. China Evergrande filed for U.S. bankruptcy in August 2023 while restructuring its debt, having defaulted on a massive $300 billion debt in 2021; it was ordered to liquidate by Hong Kong High Court in January 2024. We cannot assure you that the PRC government will not adopt additional and more stringent industry policies, regulations and measures in the future, nor can we assure you when or whether the existing policies and regulations will be eased or reversed, or otherwise enhanced to some extent in their implementations. If the policies remain unchanged or become more restrictive, they may continue affecting the growth rate of the Chinese residential real estate market, some of which may cause a decline in transaction volumes and average selling prices, prevent developers from raising the capital they need, increase developers’ costs to start new projects and increase the burdens on developers to secure financing on favorable terms or at all. In addition, the slowdown of China’s economic growth as well as the housing market may result in the banks and other financial institutions becoming more cautious in their lending activities, and therefore adversely impact our ability to secure financing. As a result, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

In the United States, we currently have three development projects in the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens boroughs of New York City. Pre-sale proceeds (i.e., deposits and other sales proceeds received before the conveyance of title to the buyer) cannot be used to finance project construction under local laws and regulations applicable to the New York projects, so we are financing their development through internal funds and bank loans, causing us to utilize more of our own funds to undertake larger construction debt obligations and to bear higher borrowing costs. In January 2024, two of our subsidiaries in the United States filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.”

As of December 31, 2023, our contractual obligations amounted to US$3,305.1 million, primarily arising from contracted construction costs or other capital commitments for future property developments, operating lease obligations and debt obligations. Of this amount, US$1,939.8 million was due within one year.

There can be no assurance that our internally generated cash flow and external financing will be sufficient for us to meet our contractual and financing obligations in a timely manner. Due to the current measures imposed by the PRC government (as well as other measures that may be imposed in the future) which limit our access to additional capital, as well as restrictions imposed on our conduct under existing debt arrangements, we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain sufficient funding to finance intended purchases of land and land use rights, develop future projects or meet other capital needs as and when required at a commercially reasonable cost or at all. Our failure to obtain adequate financing in a timely manner and on reasonable terms could severely adversely restrict our ability to complete existing projects, expand our business or repay our obligations and affect our cash flow, liquidity, financial performance and condition.

We are subject to certain restrictive covenants and risks normally associated with debt financing which may limit our ability to take certain corporate actions, including incurring additional debt, which could materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

We are subject to certain restrictive covenants in our loan agreements with certain commercial banks. Certain loan agreements contain covenants providing that, among other matters, we or our relevant PRC operating subsidiaries may not enter into mergers, joint ventures or restructurings, decrease our registered share capital, transfer material assets, including shares of subsidiaries, engage in material investments, liquidate, change our shareholding, or distribute dividends without the relevant lenders’ prior written consent or unless we fully settle the outstanding amounts under the relevant loan agreements. In addition, certain of our loan agreements contain cross-default clauses. If any cross-default occurs, these banks are entitled to accelerate payment of all or any part of the loan under their relevant loan agreements and to enforce all or any of the security for such loans. Further, the onshore corporate bonds issued by Xinyuan (China) Real Estate, Ltd., or “Xinyuan China”, our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, contain restrictions on certain business activities of Xinyuan China when in default on payment of interest or principal, including, among others, limitations on distributions of net income, limitations on certain expenditures, or business combination transactions. Our future bank and other borrowings may contain similar restrictions or cross-default provisions.

8

Our outstanding debt securities also contain certain covenants that restrict our ability to take other corporate actions. The indentures governing our senior secured notes contain covenants that, among other things, restrict our ability and our restricted subsidiaries’ abilities (as defined in the relevant indenture) to incur additional debt or issue preferred stock, to make certain payments or investments, to pay dividends, to purchase or redeem capital stock, sell assets, or make certain other payments, subject to certain qualifications and exemptions and satisfaction of certain conditions.

As a result of any such covenants in current or future financing documents, our ability to pay dividends or other distributions on our common shares and ADSs may be limited. Such covenants may also restrict our ability to raise additional capital in the future through bank borrowings, mortgage financings, and debt and equity issuances and may restrict our ability to engage in some transactions that we believe to be of benefit to us. The occurrence of any of the above events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results, as well as cash flow and cash that is available for distributions.

In addition, our obligations under our senior secured notes are guaranteed by various of our subsidiaries, and the guarantee by our wholly-owned subsidiary, Xinyuan Real Estate, Ltd., which indirectly holds all our assets and operations in China, is secured by a pledge of our shares of the other guarantor subsidiaries subject to limited exceptions. If we default under any of the senior secured notes, the holders thereof may enforce their claims against those shares. In such an event, the holders of the notes could gain ownership of the shares of Xinyuan Real Estate, Ltd., and, as a result, own and control all our subsidiaries in China. We conduct substantially all of our operations in China, and if we default under any of the notes, we could lose control or ownership of our assets and operations in China.

We are overdue on our debt, and we may not be able to work out a viable debt restructuring plan or otherwise maintain our liquidity and financial position. We are exposed to risks associated with our debt restructuring, and our other measures to maintain and improve our liquidity and financial position may not be successful.

As of December 31, 2023, our short-term bank loans and other debt, and current portion of long-term bank loans and other debt amounted to US$1,957.2 million. We did not make payments in full for the June 2022 Senior Secured Notes (as defined below) at maturity on June 29, 2022. The total amount due and payable, including principal and interests, was RMB545.3 million. The default also triggered cross-default of other senior notes issued by us. On August 18, 2023, eligible holders of the defaulted senior notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$307.36 million exchanged their notes and the Company delivered the September 2027 Senior Secured Notes in the aggregate principal amount of US$331.3 million due on September 30, 2027 and US$1.54 million in cash consideration in full satisfaction of the exchange consideration to those eligible holders. The carrying amount of senior notes still in default was US$393.0 million as at December 31, 2023. We also breached certain covenants relating to bank and other borrowings of US$614.0 million as of December 31, 2023. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Debt Securities—Senior Secured Notes.”

We are currently exploring a variety of measures to maintain and improve our liquidity and financial position. We have been proactively making effort to resolve debts both from domestic and foreign institutions since June 2022 and have engaged Alvarez & Marsal Corporate Finance Limited to advise on certain debt matters. We have reached or agreed into resolution or settlement with institutions through various approaches. As of December 31, 2023, we had accumulatively completed debt restructurings amounting to USD$880.6 million, including the rollover of the onshore corporate bonds issued by Xinyuan China, and an exchange offer of the senior secured notes issued by the Company completed in August 2023. The total restructuring amount mentioned above accounts for approximately 45% of the total outstanding balance of our interest-bearing debts. The average maturity extended is around 3 years. The interest saving contributes around RMB350 million annually.

However, there is no assurance as to whether such debt restructuring may be completed or successful. If we cannot work out successfully complete such debt restructuring, we may not be able to maintain our liquidity and continue our normal business operation. Even if we successfully enter into arrangements to restructure or resolve our debt, it is possible that our existing creditors and potential financing providers may impose additional conditions, increase interest rates and demand payment of extension fees or penalties in connection with such arrangements, leaving little or no value for our shareholders.

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Our auditor has issued a “going concern” audit opinion, and our ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on our ability to significantly improve our liquidity position.

We experienced net losses of US$413.3 million and US$258.7 million in 2021 and 2022 and net income of US$30.5 million in 2023, respectively. We may continue to incur losses in the future. There is material uncertainty associated with our ability to continue as a going concern. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

In addition, our independent auditor has indicated in its report on our audited financial statements that there exists material uncertainty that could raise doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. These doubts regarding our ability to continue as a going concern relate to the conditions including that our ability to generate funds to meet short-term operating cash requirements and loan repayments is reliant on our ability to sell the real estate properties we hold, or to obtain alternative financing, and that the timing of these sales is uncertain and as a result the we are currently reliant on long-term investor loans being renewed when they come up for repayment. Such a “going concern” opinion could impair our ability to finance our operations through the sale of equity, incurring debt, or other financing alternatives.

Our liquidity and our ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on various factors, to generate cash flows from operations and to arrange adequate financing arrangements to support our working capital requirements, and there are no assurances that we will be successful in our efforts to maintain a sufficient cash balance, report profitable operations in the future or pay our debts as they fall due, any of which could impact our ability to continue as a going concern. Any such inability to continue as a going concern may result in our shareholders losing their entire investment.

If we are unable to manage successfully our expansion into other cities in China, we will not be able to execute our business plan.

A key aspect of our historical business plan has been to expand our residential property development operations into high-growth cities in China, from our initial focus on Zhengzhou. We plan to expand into new cities as suitable opportunities arise. The development of real estate projects in other cities will impose significant demands on our management and other operational resources. Moreover, we will face additional competition and will need to establish brand recognition and market acceptance for our developments in these new markets. Each city has its unique market conditions, customer requirements and local regulations related to the local real estate industry. If we are unable to successfully develop and sell projects outside of our existing markets, our future growth may be limited and we may not generate adequate returns to cover our investments in these new markets. In addition, if we expand our operations to other cities with higher land prices, our costs may increase, which may lead to a decrease in our profit margin, or impairments resulting from land value decreases.

We are in the early stages of expanding into markets outside of China, in which we have limited or no development experience and which may require us to spend significant resources, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to succeed in any such market.

While our primary focus continues to be residential real estate markets in high-growth cities in China, we have begun expanding into other markets on an opportunistic basis. In the U.S., we currently have two completed projects, one in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn or the “New York Oosten Project” and another one in Manhattan, or the “Hudson Garden Project.” We also have an early-stage project in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York. Any change in federal income tax laws that increase the effective costs of owning a home would have an adverse effect on the demand for homes in the United States, which could negatively affect any properties we may develop in the United States. In 2014, we acquired 100% of the shares of a Malaysian company, which owns offshore landfill development rights for a total area of 170 acres (approximately 687,966 square meters). The reclamation work has been completed as of December 31, 2020. In 2018, we acquired a 50% equity stake in Madison Developments Limited, or “MDL,” the developer of the Amory Tower project (previously named as the Madison project), a 0.38-hectare (approximately 0.94 acre) development located adjacent to Canary Wharf, in London, United Kingdom. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview” for more information on our projects outside China.

Given our limited experience in markets outside of China market, it may be difficult for us to forecast accurately our future revenue and expenses related to existing and future projects in the United States, the U.K., or Malaysia. Further, locating appropriate future projects in those and other non-China markets and generating future revenue from such projects may require us to expend significant capital and management resources.

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In addition, we may not be able to develop a successful property development business in any given market. Our ability to develop a successful property developments business in any given market will depend on a number of factors including many outside of our control, such as the status of the country’s/region’s economy in general and in our target markets, consumer confidence levels, unemployment levels, interest rates and the ability of potential purchasers to obtain mortgage financing.

Our business is sensitive to the general economic conditions in the countries, cities and specific target markets in which we operate. A severe or prolonged downturn in the global economy generally and particularly in the countries or regions in which we have development projects could materially and adversely affect our revenue and results of operations.

The real estate market is sensitive to general economic conditions, financial conditions, including interest rates, availability of capital, employment rates, and other economic and financial conditions in the local market and the broader region or country as well as global economic conditions. Significant downturns and instability in the global economy or in the country and local markets in which we operate or the perception that they could occur, could depress economic activity and restrict our access to capital. In addition, any such events could negatively affect our customers in one or more markets, including their access to financing or willingness to engage in a major financial transaction, such as purchasing a home. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected.

In our China markets, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are influenced by social, economic, political and legal developments in China. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Changes in social conditions, political and economic policies of the PRC government may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and may result in our inability to sustain our growth and expansion strategies.” In response to their perceived uncertainty in economic conditions, consumers might delay, reduce or cancel purchases of homes, and our homebuyers may also defer, reduce or cancel purchases of our units. We have experienced volatilities in demand from time to time in the recent years due to the strict mortgage policy and other measures taken by the PRC government to slow down the rapid increase in housing prices. To the extent any fluctuations in the Chinese economy significantly affect homebuyers’ demand for our units or change their spending habits, our results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

The PRC economy also faces challenges in the short to medium term. Continued turbulence in the international markets and prolonged declines in consumer spending, including home purchases, as well as any slowdown of economic growth in China, may adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.

Our U.S. property developments are sensitive to the general economic conditions in the United States and the condition of the U.S. housing market in particular. The U.S. housing industry is highly cyclical and is significantly affected by changes in industry conditions, as well as in global and local economic conditions, such as changes in employment and income levels, availability of financing for buyers, interest rates, levels of new and existing homes for sale demographic, trends and housing demand. Deterioration in industry conditions in the United States or in broader economic conditions could have additional material adverse effects on our business expansion in the United States and financial results.

There have been significant changes and proposed changes to the U.S. trade policies, treaties, tariffs and taxes, including trade policies and tariffs regarding China, which have created significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and China, as well as other countries, including with respect to the trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs that could apply to trade with those countries.

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We may be unable to acquire desired development sites at commercially reasonable costs.

Our revenue depends on the completion and sale of our projects, which in turn depends on our ability to acquire development sites. Our land costs are a major component of our cost of real estate sales and increases in such costs could diminish our gross margin. In China, the PRC government controls the supply of land and regulates land sales and transfers in the secondary market. As a result, the policies of the PRC government, including those related to land supply and urban planning, affect our ability to acquire, and our costs of acquiring, land use rights for our projects. In recent years, the PRC government has introduced various measures attempting to moderate investment in the property market in China. Although we believe that these measures are generally targeted at the luxury property market and speculative purchases of land and properties, we cannot assure you that the PRC government will not introduce other measures in the future that would adversely affect our ability to obtain land for development. We currently acquire our development sites primarily by bidding for government land, supplemented in some instances by direct negotiations with local governments prior to land auctions or by acquisition of local developers or by investment in an entity that holds land use rights or by cooperating with our business partners through joint ventures and associated companies. Under current regulations, land use rights acquired from government authorities for commercial and residential development purposes must be purchased through a public tender, auction or listing-for-sale. Competition in these bidding processes has resulted in higher land use rights costs for us over the past few years, and we may not successfully obtain desired development sites due to the increasingly intense competition in the bidding processes. Moreover, the supply of potential development sites in any given city will diminish over time, and we may find it increasingly difficult to identify and acquire attractive development sites at commercially reasonable costs in the future.

We rely on third-party contractors who may not perform at acceptable quality levels or in a timely manner.

Substantially all of our project construction and related work are outsourced to third-party contractors, and their performance may not meet our level of standards or specifications. Negligence, delay or poor work quality by contractors may result in defects in our buildings or residential units, which could in turn cause us to suffer financial losses, harm our reputation or expose us to third-party claims. If the performance of any third-party contractor is not satisfactory or is delayed, we may need to replace such contractor or take other actions to remedy the situation, which could adversely affect the cost and construction progress of our projects, and which could cause the completion of our property developments to be delayed. We work with multiple contractors on different projects and cannot guarantee that we can effectively monitor their work at all times. Although our construction and other contracts contain provisions designed to protect us, we may be unable to successfully enforce these rights and, even if we are able to successfully enforce these rights, the third-party contractors may not have sufficient financial resources to compensate us. Moreover, the contractors may undertake projects from other property developers, engage in risky undertakings or encounter financial or other difficulties, such as supply shortages, labor disputes or work accidents, which may cause delays in the completion of our property projects or increases in our costs. In addition, consistent with what we believe is the customary industry practice in China, our contractors typically do not maintain insurance coverage on our properties under construction.

We may be unable to complete our property developments on time or at all and any construction delays, or failure to complete a project according to our planned specifications or budget, may delay our property sales, which could adversely affect our revenue, cash flows and our reputation.

The progress and costs for a development project can be adversely affected by many factors, including, without limitation:

delays in obtaining necessary licenses, permits or approvals from government agencies or authorities;
changes in government policies, rules or regulations;
shortages of materials, equipment, contractors and skilled labor or increased labor or raw material costs;
disputes with our third-party contractors;
failure by our third-party contractors to comply with our designs, specifications or standards;
difficult geological situations or other geotechnical issues;

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onsite labor disputes or work accidents;
natural catastrophes or adverse weather conditions, including strong winds, storms, floods, and earthquakes; and
geopolitical challenges and uncertainties (including wars and other forms of conflict, terrorist acts and security operations), such as the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the severe economic sanctions and export controls imposed by the U.S. and other governments against Russia and Russian interests.

Any construction delays, or failure to complete a project according to our planned specifications or budget, may delay our property sales, which could adversely affect our revenue, cash flows and our reputation.

Under PRC laws and regulations and our pre-sale contracts, we are required to compensate purchasers for late delivery of or failure to complete our pre-sold units. If the delay extends beyond the contractually specified period, the purchasers may become entitled to terminate the pre-sale contracts and claim damages. We are also unable to guarantee that any legal proceedings or renegotiations resulting from delays or failures to deliver will have a favorable outcome. For more information, see “—We may become involved in legal and other proceedings from time to time and may suffer significant liabilities or other losses as a result.”

Proceeds from pre-sale of our properties are an important source of financing for our property developments. Under PRC laws, we are not permitted to commence pre-sale until we have completed certain stages of the construction process for a project. Consequently, a significant delay in the construction of a project could restrict our ability to pre-sell our properties, which could extend the recovery period for our capital outlay. This, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our cash flow, business and financial position.

Changes of laws and regulations with respect to pre-sale may adversely affect our cash flow position and performance.

We depend on cash flows from pre-sale of properties as an important source of funding for our property development projects. Under current PRC laws and regulations, property developers must fulfill certain conditions before they can commence pre-sale of the relevant properties and may only use pre-sale proceeds to finance the construction of the specific developments. In addition, a number of provinces and cities in which we are operating business, such as Tianjin, Sichuan, Zhejiang and Qingdao, have established local rules and conditions for the pre-sale permits application, especially for the custody of pre-sale funds. Such local regulatory measures have not materially affected or restricted our operation or our use of pre-sale funds yet. However, we cannot assure you that the PRC national government or the local governmental authorities will not implement further restrictions on the pre-sale of properties, which may affect our cash flow position and force us to seek alternative sources of funding for much of our property development business.

The results of our operations may fluctuate from period to period as we derive our revenue principally from the sale of properties and we rely on our unsold inventory of units.

We derive the majority of our revenue from the sale of properties that we have developed. Our results of operations tend to fluctuate from period to period due to a combination of factors, including the overall schedule of our property development projects, the timing of the sale of properties that we have developed, the size of our land bank, our revenue recognition policies and changes in costs and expenses, such as land acquisition and construction costs. The number of properties that we can develop or complete during any particular period is limited due to the size of our land bank, the substantial capital required for land acquisition and construction, as well as the development periods required before positive cash flows may be generated. For real estate sales contracts for which we have an enforceable right to payment for performance completed to date, revenue is recognized over time by measuring the progress towards complete satisfaction of that performance obligation. Otherwise, revenue is recognized at a point in time when the customer obtains control of the asset. In addition, several properties that we have developed or that are under development are large scale and developed in multiple phases over the course of one to several years. The selling prices of the residential units in larger-scale property developments tend to change over time, which may impact our sales proceeds and, accordingly, our revenue for any given period. Furthermore, our property development projects may be delayed or adversely affected by a combination of factors beyond our control, which may in turn adversely affect our revenue recognition and consequently our cash flows or results of operations. As a result of the fluctuations in our operating results, our period-to-period comparisons of results of operations and cash flow positions may not be indicative of our future results of operations and may not be taken as meaningful measures of our financial performance for any specific period.

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The recognition of our real estate revenue and costs is dependent upon our estimation of our total project revenue and costs.

For real estate sales contracts for which we have an enforceable right to payment for performance completed to date, revenue is recognized over time by measuring the progress towards complete satisfaction of that performance obligation. Otherwise, revenue is recognized at a point in time when the customer obtains control of the asset. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Critical Accounting Policies.” Under both methods, revenue and costs are calculated based on an estimation of total project costs and total project revenue, which are revised on a regular basis as the work progresses. Any material deviation between actual and estimated total project revenue and costs may result in an increase, a reduction or an elimination of reported revenue or costs from period to period, which will affect our gross profit and net income.

We face risks related to our back-to-back loans.

With our operations in the U.S. markets and now other non-PRC jurisdictions, we have seen and expect to continue to experience an increasing need of non-RMB financings with respect to project developments and future expansions. We currently satisfy our non-RMB denominated financing requirements through four ways: dividends distributions from our PRC subsidiaries, which are subject to 10% withholding tax payment, back-to-back loan arrangements, high-yield bond issuances and construction loan financing from local banks. Under back-to-back loan arrangements, our PRC subsidiaries make deposits denominated in RMB into banks in China as collateral to request the banks in China to issue standby letters of credit denominated in U.S. dollars or other currencies in the same amount as the RMB collateral to their outbound branches, and our project companies outside the PRC enter into loans denominated in U.S. dollars or other currencies with such outbound branches in the same amount specified in such standby letters of credit in accordance with to the Provisions on the Administration of Foreign Exchange for Cross-border Guarantee issued by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the People’s Republic of China, or the “SAFE,” effective June 1, 2014. SAFE registration requirements apply to overseas back-to-back loan arrangements and the use of proceeds of such loans must comply with certain requirements. On August 4, 2017, the National Development and Reform Commission, or the “NDRC,” Ministry of Commerce, or the “MOFCOM,” PBOC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or the “MFA,” jointly issued Guiding Opinions on Further Directing and Regulating the Direction of Overseas Investments, or “Opinion 74.” Under Opinion 74, outbound investment into real estate industry is restricted. The back-to-back loan arrangement may face strict scrutiny of banks in China. Any change in laws or regulations to restrict or forbid back-to-back loan transactions in the future may adversely affect our non-PRC companies’ financing. In addition, we are exposed to exchange rate fluctuation and foreign exchange control risks under the current back-to-back loan model, which may adversely affect our business condition and results of operation.

We rely on our key management members and the loss of their services or investor confidence in such personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We depend on the services provided by key management members. Competition for management talent is intense in the property development sector. We rely on the leadership, expertise, experience and vision of our directors and senior management team. In particular, we are highly dependent on Mr. Yong Zhang, our founder and Chairman. We do not maintain key employee insurance. In the event that we lose the services of any key management member, we may be unable to identify and recruit suitable successors in a timely manner or at all, which will adversely affect our business and operations and we may incur additional expenses to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel. Moreover, we may need to employ and retain more management personnel to support an expansion into high-growth cities on a much larger geographical scale as well as our expansion in the U.S., Malaysia, the U.K. and other areas. If we cannot attract and retain suitable personnel, especially at the management level, our business and future growth will be adversely affected.

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We provide guarantees for the mortgage loans of our customers in China, which expose us to risks of default by our customers.

We pre-sell properties before actual completion and, in accordance with PRC industry practice, our customers’ mortgage banks require us to guarantee our customers’ mortgage loans. Typically, we provide guarantees to PRC banks with respect to loans procured by the purchasers of our properties for the total mortgage loan amount until the completion of the registration of the mortgage with the relevant mortgage registration authorities, which generally occurs within six to 12 months after the purchasers take possession of the relevant properties. In line with what we believe to be industry practice, we rely on the credit evaluation conducted by mortgagee banks and do not conduct our own independent credit checks on our customers. The mortgagee banks typically require us to maintain, as restricted cash, up to 10% of the mortgage proceeds paid to us as security for our obligations under such guarantees. If a purchaser defaults on its payment obligations during the term of our guarantee, the mortgagee bank may deduct the delinquent mortgage payment from the security deposit. If the delinquent mortgage payments exceed the security deposit, the banks may require us to pay the excess amount. If multiple purchasers’ default on their payment obligations, we will be required to make significant payments to the banks to satisfy our guarantee obligations. Factors such as a significant decrease in housing prices, increase in interest rates or the occurrence of natural catastrophes, among others, could result in a purchaser defaulting on its mortgage payment obligations. If we are unable to resell the properties underlying defaulted mortgages on a timely basis or at prices higher than the amounts of our guarantees and related expenses, we will suffer financial losses. We paid US$3,723,398, US$4,068,840 and US$2,286,938 to satisfy guarantee obligations related to customer defaults in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.

As of December 31, 2022 and 2023, our outstanding guarantees in respect of our customers’ mortgage loans amounted to US$2,110.5 million and US$1,926.4 million, respectively. If substantial defaults by our customers occur and we are called upon to honor our guarantees, our financial condition, cash flow and results of operations will be materially adversely affected.

Our level of indebtedness could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, diminish our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations and limit our ability to explore business opportunities.

As of December 31, 2023, the outstanding balance of our total indebtedness amounted to US$1,957.2 million. Our level of indebtedness could have an adverse effect on us. For example, it could:

require us to dedicate a large portion of our cash flow from operations as well as the proceeds from certain financings and asset dispositions to fund payments of our debt, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes;
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations under our debt securities and other indebtedness;
increase our vulnerability to adverse general economic or industry conditions;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or relating to, changes in our business or the industry in which we operate;
limit our ability to raise additional debt or equity capital in the future or increase the cost of such funding;
restrict us from making strategic acquisitions, exploring business opportunities or selling assets;
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to any competitors that have less debt; and
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt.

Our ability to make payments on and to refinance our indebtedness will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future, which in turn is dependent on various factors. For a discussion of these factors, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — A. Operating Results — Principal Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations.”

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Our financing costs are subject to changes in interest rates.

The rates of interest payable on our PRC long-term bank loans are adjustable based on the range of 92.63% to 189.47% of the PBOC benchmark rate, which fluctuates from time to time. As of December 31, 2023, the principal amount of our aggregate outstanding variable rate debt was US$777.8 million. A hypothetical 1% increase in annual interest rates would increase our interest expenses by US$7.78 million based on our debt level on December 31, 2023. In connection with our U.S. projects and U.K. projects, we enter into U.S. dollar and British pound denominated loans, which will subject us to additional interest rate fluctuation risks, including fluctuations of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, and the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR. For a further discussion of interest rate sensitivity, see “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Interest Rate Risk.”

We are subject to potential environmental liability.

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations concerning the protection of health and the environment. The particular environmental laws and regulations that apply to any given development site vary significantly according to the site’s location and environmental condition, the present and former uses of the site and the nature of the adjoining properties. Environmental laws and conditions may result in delays, may cause us to incur substantial compliance and other costs and can prohibit or severely restrict project development activity in environmentally-sensitive regions or areas. Although the environmental investigations conducted by local PRC environmental authorities have not revealed any environmental liability related to our China projects that we believe would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations to date, it is possible that these investigations did not reveal all environmental liabilities and that there are material environmental liabilities of which we are unaware. We cannot assure you that future environmental investigations will not reveal material environmental liability. Also, we cannot assure you that the PRC, United States, Malaysian or U.K. governments will not change the existing laws and regulations or impose additional or stricter laws or regulations, the compliance of which may cause us to incur significant capital expenditure. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Environmental Matters.”

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Our business expansion and business diversification require proper allocation of our management resources and qualified employees.

In recent years, we expanded our operations into the U.S., Malaysia and the U.K. while also expanding our operations in China. Such expansion, with more diversified business focuses in terms of market regions and types of business, demand proper allocation of our management resources. In addition, our Malaysia acquisition which involves land reclamation activities, our acquisitions of Beijing Ruizhuo Xitou Development Co., Ltd., or “Xitou,” Beijing Ruizhuo Xichuang Technology Development Co., Ltd., or “Xichuang,” and Beijing I-Journey Science and Technology Development Co., Ltd., or “I-Journey,” which extends the Group’s business to providing real estate and property management related technology services, in which we have no prior experience and which presents risks we have not previously encountered or dealt with, may require additional skill sets on the part of our management. If our management fails to satisfy these increased demands, we may not be able to carry out our business expansion and project development successfully. In addition, if we are unable to recruit or retain a sufficient number of qualified employees for the continuation and expansion of our business, our business and prospects may be adversely affected.

New lines of business or new products and services may subject us to additional risks.

From time to time, we may implement new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business. There are substantial risks and uncertainties associated with these efforts, particularly in instances where the markets are not fully developed. There may be license and compliance requirements regarding new lines of business, including special requirements for foreign-invested enterprises. The development and marketing of new lines of business or new products and services could distract our management from our core business. In addition, we may invest significant time and resources into these new lines of business or new products and services. Initial timetables for the introduction and development of new lines of business or new products and services may not be achieved and price and profitability targets may not prove feasible. External factors, such as compliance with regulations, competitive alternatives, and shifting market preferences, may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business or a new product or service. Furthermore, any new line of business or new product or service could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of our system of internal control. Particularly, we cannot assure that our investment in certain technology development activities, including our development of smart home technology products, cloud-based enterprise resource planning software and online property sales platform will be successful or have positive impacts on our business. Failure to successfully manage these risks in the development and implementation of new lines of business or new products or services could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Failure to maintain the security of our information and technology networks, including personally identifiable and customer information, as well as uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation of cybersecurity review procedures and proprietary business information, could significantly adversely affect us.

In China, the government is still ramping up regulations with regard to personal information protection. On October 1, 2020, the Information Security Technology—Personal Information Security Specification (GB/T 35273-2020), or the “2020 Specification,” took effect. Although the 2020 Specification is a recommended guideline, and it is not enforceable by law, the authority will use this standard to evaluate our compliance with China’s legal guidelines and regulations regarding personal information protection. On August 20, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or “SCNPC,” promulgated the Personal Information Protection Law of the PRC, or the “Personal Information Protection Law,” which integrates various rules with respect to personal information rights and privacy protection. The Personal Information Protection Law, which took effect on November 1, 2021, seeks to protect the personal information rights and interests, regulating the processing of personal information, ensuring the orderly and free flow of personal information in accordance with the law and promoting the reasonable use of personal information. The Personal Information Protection Law applies to the processing of personal information within China, as well as certain personal information processing activities conducted by entities outside China for natural persons within China, including those for the provision of products and services to natural persons within China or for the analysis and assessment of acts of natural persons within China. The Personal Information Protection Law provides severe punishment for violations of the regulations relating to the processing of personal information.

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The relevant regulatory authorities in China continue to monitor websites and networks in relation to the protection of personal data, privacy and information security, and may impose additional requirements from time to time. For example, the SCNPC promulgated the PRC Data Security Law, which took effect on September 1, 2021. The Data Security Law provides for a security review procedure for data that may affect national security. Furthermore, on December 28, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China, or the “CAC,” the NDRC, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the “MIIT,” and several other administrations jointly published the Measures for Cybersecurity Review, which became effective on February 15, 2022. The Measures for Cybersecurity Review provide that certain operators of critical information infrastructure engaged in the purchasing of network products and services, and certain network platform operators carrying out data processing activities that affect or may affect national security, must apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office to conduct a cybersecurity review. On July 30, 2021, the State Council issued the Security Protection Regulations for Critical Information Infrastructure, or the “Regulation for CII,” which became effective on September 30, 2021. The Regulation for CII specifies that CII refers to important Internet facilities and information systems in significant industries, such as public communication, information services, energy, traffic, hydraulic engineering, financing, public services, e-government, national defense technology, and other facilities that once destroyed, lost function or data leakage, may seriously endanger national security, national economy, people’s livelihood, and public interest. However, the scope of operators of “critical information infrastructure” under the current regulatory regime remains unclear and is subject to further decisions of competent PRC regulatory authorities.

On November 14, 2021, the CAC published a draft version of the Administrative Measures for Internet Data Security, or the “Draft Measures for Internet Data Security,” which propose that data processors conducting the following activities would also need to apply for cybersecurity review procedures: (i) mergers, reorganizations or divisions of Internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests that affect or may affect national security; (ii) overseas listings, if the data processor processes an amount of personal information relating to over one million users; (iii) listings in Hong Kong which affect or may affect national security; or (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. There currently is no public timetable as to when or whether the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security will be enacted. As such, substantial uncertainties still exist with respect to the potential timing of obligations, the regulation’s final content, as well as its interpretation and implementation. Regardless of such uncertainties, if in the future these or other regulations were to require us to perform a cybersecurity review, then any failure to obtain approval or clearance from the regulatory authorities with respect to our cybersecurity review could materially constrain our liquidity and have a material adverse impact on our business operations and financial results, especially if any additional capital or financing were to be needed.

The PRC regulatory authorities have also undertaken recent efforts to enhance the supervision and regulation of cross-border data transmissions. On July 7, 2022, the CAC promulgated the Measures for the Security Assessment of Cross-border Data Transmission, which came into effect on September 1, 2022 and regulate security assessment procedures with respect to cross-border data transfers by data processors of important data and personal information that is collected and generated during operations within the PRC. The Measures for the Security Assessment of Cross-border Data Transmission provide a six-month transition period (beginning from the regulation’s effective date) for data processors to rectify their compliance with the security assessment requirements with regard to cross-border data transfers carried out before these measures take effect (September 1, 2022). On March 22, 2024, the CAC issued the long-awaited Provisions on Facilitating and Regulating Cross-Border Data Transfers, effective as of the same date. The CAC simultaneously updated the Guidelines to Applications for Security Assessment of Outbound Data Transfers and the Guidelines for Filing the Standard Contract for Outbound Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information to harmonize the current rules applicable to cross-border data transfers. These regulations benefit many multinational companies that are involved in the transfer of personal information and other data out of China. The essence of these regulations consists of exceptions to existing data compliance requirements (such as the need to conduct “security assessments” and to complete “standard contracts”) set out under pre-existing laws and regulations concerning outbound cross-border data transfers.

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Regulatory requirements on cybersecurity and data privacy are constantly evolving and can be subject to varying interpretations or significant changes, resulting in uncertainties about the scope of our responsibilities in that regard. In particular, the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security are still uncertain and in a draft state, and we cannot assure that, once implemented (if they are ever implemented), relevant governmental authorities will not interpret or implement this and other laws or regulations in ways that may negatively affect us. Security breaches and other disruptions of our information and technology networks could compromise our information and expose us to liability, reputational harm and significant remediation costs, which could cause material harm to our business and financial results. In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including our proprietary business information, and information relating to our customers and information of our employees, contractors and vendors, in our networks. Despite our security measures, and those of our third-party service providers, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by third parties or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. A significant theft, loss, corruption, exposure, fraudulent use or misuse of customer, employee or other personally identifiable or proprietary business data, noncompliance with our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data could result in significant remediation and other costs, fines, litigation or regulatory actions against us. Such an event could additionally disrupt our operations, harm our relationships with contractors and vendors, damage our reputation, result in the loss of a competitive advantage, which could adversely affect our business, revenue, competitive position and investor confidence. Additionally, we rely on third parties to support our information and technology networks, and as a result have less direct control over our data and information technology systems. These third parties are also vulnerable to security breaches and compromised security systems, for which we may not be indemnified and which could materially adversely affect us.

We may fail to obtain or maintain, or may experience material delays in obtaining, necessary government approvals for any major property development, which will adversely affect our business.

The real estate industry in China is strictly regulated by the PRC government. Property developers in China must abide by various laws and regulations, including implementation rules implemented by local governments to enforce these laws and regulations. Before commencing, and during the course of, development of a property project, we need to apply for or renew various licenses, permits, certificates and approvals, including but not limited to, land use rights certificates, construction site planning permits, construction work planning permits, construction permits, pre-sale permits and completion acceptance certificates. We need to satisfy various requirements to obtain these approval certificates and permits, and to meet specific conditions in order for the government authorities to renew relevant approval certificates and permits. We cannot guarantee that we will not encounter serious delays or difficulties in the future. Some of our subsidiaries were not in compliance with certain construction or pre-sale PRC laws and regulations, such as commencing construction works and pre-sale before obtaining the requisite approvals or permits. Although we have improved our internal control procedures, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to adapt to new rules and regulations that may come into effect from time to time with respect to the property industry or that we will not encounter material delays or difficulties in fulfilling the necessary conditions to obtain and/or renew all necessary certificates or permits for our operations in a timely manner, or at all, in the future. In the event that we fail to obtain the necessary governmental approvals for any of our major property projects, or a serious delay occurs in the government’s examination and approval process, we may not be able to maintain our development schedule and our business and cash flows may be adversely affected.

Moreover, as the real estate industry is closely monitored by the PRC government, we anticipate that new policies will be promulgated from time to time in relation to the conditions for issuance or renewal of such approvals, licenses or permits. We cannot guarantee that such new policies will not present unexpected obstacles toward our ability to obtain or renew the required permits, licenses and certificates or that we will be able to overcome these obstacles in a timely manner, or at all. Loss of or failure to renew our permits, licenses and certificates may stall the progress of our major property development projects.

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Regulations in the United States could increase the cost and limit the availability of our project development in these jurisdictions and adversely affect our business or financial results.

As we expand our business in the U.S., we will continue to be subject to extensive and complex regulations in these jurisdictions that affect land development and home construction, including zoning, density restrictions, building design and building standards, as well as environmental laws. These regulations often provide broad discretion to the administering governmental authorities as to the conditions we must meet prior to being approved, if approved at all. We are subject to determinations by these authorities as to the adequacy of water and sewage facilities, roads and other local services. New housing developments may also be subject to various assessments for public improvements. Any of these regulatory issues can limit or delay construction and increase our operating costs. We are also subject to a variety of local, state and/or federal laws and regulations concerning protection of health, safety and the environment. These matters may result in delays, may cause us to incur substantial compliance, remediation, mitigation and other costs or subject us to costs from fines, penalties and related litigation. These laws and regulations can also prohibit or severely restrict development and homebuilding activity in environmentally sensitive areas.

Increases in the price of raw materials or labor costs may increase our cost of sales and reduce our earnings.

We outsource the design and construction of our projects under development to third-party service providers. Our third-party contractors are responsible for providing labor and procuring almost all of the raw materials used in our project developments. Our PRC construction contracts typically provide for fixed or capped payments, but the payments are subject to changes in PRC government-suggested prices for certain raw materials we use, such as steel and cement. In addition, China’s overall economy and the average wage in China have increased in recent years and are expected to grow in the near future. The average wage level for the employees has also increased for the past periods. Any increase in raw materials costs, labor costs or other costs which may result in adjustments in payments under any of our construction contracts could result in an increase in our construction costs. In the event that the price of any raw materials, including cement, concrete blocks and bricks, or labor cost increase in the future, such increase could be passed on to us by our contractors, and our construction costs would increase accordingly. Passing such increased costs to our customers may result in reduced sales and delay our ability to complete sales for our projects. Any input cost increase could reduce our earnings to the extent we are unable to pass these increased costs to our customers.

Retail and commercial investment properties and properties held for sale are generally illiquid investments and the lack of alternative uses of such properties could limit our ability to respond to changes in the performance of our properties.

As of December 31, 2023, we had approximately 86,951, 116,288, 12,187, 18,936 and 3,904 square meters of retail investment properties in Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Changsha, Chengdu and Kunshan, in China, and approximately 28,090 square feet of retail investment properties in New York, respectively. As of December 31, 2023, we also had four projects under construction at which we plan to develop commercial property for lease with a planned GFA of approximately 203,270 square meters. We anticipate that we may prudently and gradually increase our retail and commercial investment properties as appropriate opportunities arise in the future. Any form of real estate investment is difficult to liquidate and, as a result, our ability to sell our properties in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions is limited. In addition, we may also need to incur operating and capital expenditures to manage and maintain our properties, or to correct defects or make improvements to these properties before selling them. We cannot assure you that we can obtain financing at a reasonable cost for such expenditures, or at all.

Furthermore, aging of retail and commercial investment properties or properties held for sale, changes in economic and financial conditions or changes in the competitive landscape in the PRC or U.S. property markets, may adversely affect the amounts of rentals and revenue we generate from, as well as the fair value of, these properties. However, our ability to convert any of these properties to alternative uses is limited as such conversion requires extensive governmental approvals in the PRC or may require zoning or other approvals in the United States and involves substantial capital expenditures for the purpose of renovation, reconfiguration and refurbishment. We cannot assure you that such approvals and financings can be obtained when needed. These and other factors that impact our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our retail and commercial investment properties, as well as properties held for sale, may adversely affect our business, financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

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We may be adversely affected by material issues that affect our relationships or business ventures with our joint venture and associated company partners.

We have partnered with a number of business partners and established joint ventures with third parties and may continue to do so in the future. The performance of such business ventures has affected, and will continue to affect, our results of operations and financial position. We and our business venture partners provided capital to our jointly established project companies in proportion to our shareholding percentages in order to fund such project companies’ land acquisition efforts and working capital requirements. Once these project companies commence pre-sale and generate cash flow, they will repay such capital to us on demand. Therefore, the timing of such business ventures’ capital requirements, the financial performance of these business ventures and their ability to repay may materially and adversely affect our results of operations. With respect to our subsidiaries with minority interest holders, our consolidated financial results may be directly impacted and the profit attributable to our Group may be diluted. With respect to joint ventures and associates, we generally expect to incur share of loss in such joint ventures or associates until their respective development of property projects completes and starts to contribute revenue. As of December 31, 2021, 2022 and 2023, we had a total of 16, 14 and 14 joint ventures, respectively.

We may engage in joint ventures, which could result in unforeseen expenses or disruptive effects on our business.

From time to time, we have engaged and may consider engaging in joint ventures with other businesses to develop a property. Any joint venture that we determine to pursue will be accompanied by a number of risks. We may not be in a position to exercise sole decision-making authority regarding the joint ventures. We may not be able to control the quality of products produced by the joint venture. Depending on the terms of the joint venture agreement, we may require the consent of our joint venture partners for the joint venture to take certain actions, such as making distributions to the partners. A joint venture partner may encounter financial difficulties and become unable to meet obligations with regard to funding of the joint venture. In addition, our joint venture partners and the joint ventures themselves may hold different views or have different interests from ours, and therefore may compete in the same market with us, in which case our interest and future development may be materially adversely affected. Further, since we may not have full control over the business and operations of our joint ventures and associated companies, we cannot assure that they will be in strict compliance with all applicable PRC laws and regulations. We cannot assure you that we will not encounter problems with respect to our joint ventures and associated companies or our joint ventures and associated companies will not violate PRC laws and regulations, which may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Any future investments or acquisitions could expose us to unforeseen risks or place additional strain on the management and other resources.

As part of our business strategy, we regularly evaluate investments in, or acquisitions of, subsidiaries, joint ventures, and we expect that we will continue to make such investments and acquisitions in the future. Any potential future acquisition may be accompanied by a number of risks, including risks relating to the evolving legal landscape in China. An acquired business may underperform relative to expectations or may expose us to unexpected liabilities. Acquisitions of entities that own real estate may involve risks in addition to the risks inherent in a real estate acquisition, because the acquisition of an entity generally includes all of the liabilities of the entity — known and unknown, fixed and contingent — rather than only the liabilities related to the real estate. These liabilities, which could be material, may include liabilities not disclosed by the seller of the entity or not discovered during our due diligence. In addition, the integration of any acquisition could require substantial management attention and resources. If we were unable to successfully manage the integration and ongoing operations, or hire and retain additional personnel necessary for the running of the expanded business, the results of our operations and financial performance could be adversely affected.

Acquisitions may result in the incurrence and inheritance of debts and other liabilities, assumption of potential legal liabilities in respect of the acquired businesses, and incurrence of impairment charges related to goodwill and other intangible assets, any of which could harm our businesses, financial condition and results of operations. In particular, if any of the acquired businesses fails to perform as we expect, we may be required to recognize a significant impairment charge, which may materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations. As a result, there can be no assurance that we will be able to achieve the strategic purpose of any acquisition, the desired level of operational integration or our investment return target.

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Our failure to successfully manage our business expansion would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and prospects.

Our expansion has created, and will continue to place, substantial demand on our resources. Managing our growth and integrating the acquired businesses will require us to, among other things:

comply with the laws, regulations and policies applicable to the acquired businesses, including obtaining timely approval for the real estate construction as required under the PRC law;
maintain adequate control on our business expansion to prevent, among other things, project delays or cost overruns;
manage relationships with employees, customers and business partners during the course of our business expansion;
attract, train and motivate members of our management and qualified workforce to support successful business expansion;
access debt, equity or other capital resources to fund our business expansion, which may divert financial resources otherwise available for other purposes;
divert significant management attention and resources from our other businesses; and
strengthen our operational, financial and management controls, particularly those of our newly acquired subsidiaries, to maintain the reliability of our reporting processes.

Any difficulty meeting the foregoing or similar requirements could significantly delay or otherwise constrain our ability to implement our expansion plans or result in failure to achieve the expected benefits of the combination or acquisition or write-offs of acquired assets or investments, which in turn would limit our ability to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs or otherwise strengthen our market position. Failure to obtain the intended economic benefits from the business expansion could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, we may also experience mixed results from our expansion plans in the short term.

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Regulations in the PRC may make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.

A number of PRC laws and regulations have established procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the “M&A Rules,” which became effective on September 8, 2006 and was amended on June 22, 2009, and the Implementing Rules Concerning Security Review on the Mergers and Acquisitions by Foreign Investors of Domestic Enterprises, or the “Security Review Rules,” issued by MOFCOM in August 2011. These laws and regulations impose requirements in some instances that MOFCOM must be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. In addition, the Anti-Monopoly Law of PRC requires that the anti-monopoly enforcement agency be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. On February 7, 2021, the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council published the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector, which stipulates that any concentration of undertakings involving variable interest entities is subject to anti-monopoly review. Moreover, the Security Review Rules specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and prohibit any attempt to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. On December 19, 2020, the NDRC and the MOFCOM jointly issued the Measures for the Security Review for Foreign Investment, which took effect on January 18, 2021. These measures set forth the provisions concerning the security review mechanism on foreign investment, including, among others, the types of investments subject to review, and the review scopes and procedures. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. On January 22, 2024, the Provisions of the State Council on Filing Thresholds for Business Concentrations came into effect, which raised the filing threshold concerning the revenues of parties participating in business concentrations to be consistent with the current Anti-Monopoly Law of PRC, and, to a certain degree, to alleviate the burdens of PRC regulatory compliance applicable to acquisition activities. Complying with the requirements of the relevant regulations to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including approval from the MOFCOM and other PRC government authorities, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share. We believe that our business is not in an industry related to national security. However, we cannot preclude the possibility that MOFCOM or other government agencies may publish interpretations contrary to our understanding or broaden the scope of such security review in the future. Although we have no current plans to do so, we may elect to grow our business in the future in part by directly acquiring complementary businesses in China.

The approval of the CSRC, may be required if we intend to do a follow-on equity offering in the future, and, if required, we cannot predict whether we will be able to obtain such approval.

The M&A Rules require an overseas special purpose vehicle, or “SPV,” formed for listing purposes through acquisitions of PRC domestic companies and controlled by PRC persons or entities to obtain the approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the “CSRC,” prior to the listing and trading of such SPV’s securities on an overseas stock exchange. The interpretation and application of the regulations remain unclear, and our follow-on offering of securities may be subject to approval of the CSRC. If the CSRC approval is required, it is uncertain whether we can or how long it will take us to obtain the approval and any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining the CSRC approval for such future offering would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities, which could include fines and penalties on our operations in China, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of China and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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In addition, on February 17, 2023, the CSRC promulgated the Overseas Listing Trial Measures and five relevant guidelines on the application of the Regulatory Rules, which took effect on March 31, 2023, requiring the overseas securities offerings or listings of Chinese domestic companies to be filed with the CSRC. The Overseas Listing Trial Measures clarify the scope of overseas offerings or listings by Chinese domestic companies which are subject to the filing and reporting requirements thereunder, and provide, among other things, that Chinese domestic companies that have already directly or indirectly offered and listed securities in overseas markets prior to the effectiveness of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures must fulfill their filing obligations and report relevant information to the CSRC within three working days after conducting a follow-on securities offering on the same overseas market, and follow the relevant reporting requirements within three working days upon the occurrence and public disclosure of any specified circumstances provided thereunder, including any (i) change of control; (ii) investigations or sanctions imposed by overseas securities regulatory agencies or other relevant competent authorities; (iii) change of listing status or transfer of listing segment; or (iv) voluntary or mandatory delisting. In addition, where the main business of an issuer undergoes a material change after an overseas offering and listing, and is therefore beyond the scope of the business stated in the original filing documents, such issuer shall follow the relevant reporting requirements within three working days after occurrence of such changes.

As of the date of this annual report, we are not required by the CSRC to make the above filings. However, if we conduct a new issuance of securities on the stock market, we are required by the Overseas Listing Trial Measures to fulfill relevant filing obligations within three working days upon the competition of the new securities offering. If we are found in violation of these provisions or measures, the competent Chinese authorities may impose administrative regulatory measures, such as orders for correction, warnings, and fines, and may subject us to legal liability in accordance with PRC laws and regulations.

Our development plan may be adversely affected in the event that relocation issues related to government housing expropriations are not successfully settled by the relevant PRC governmental authorities.

We acquire property for development through bidding, auctions and listing procedures held by the government or through acquisitions of third parties. Some of the property we acquire from the government may have been made available through expropriation. On January 21, 2011, the PRC State Council issued the Regulations on the Expropriation and Compensation of Houses on State-owned Land, which provides that government entities at the city and county level are responsible for overseeing housing expropriation and compensation within their respective administrative regions. The regulations mandate that a compensation agreement be entered into between the relevant housing expropriation department and the entities or individuals whose houses have been expropriated addressing, among others things, the mode of payment and the amount of compensation, the period of payment, the removal expenses, temporary placement or transitional housing expenses, losses from the closure of business operations, the time period within which the entities or individuals must vacate the expropriated premises, the type of transitional accommodation and the period of transition. The compensation payable may not be less than the market value of property of a similar nature as of the date of issuance of the expropriation notice. Under the regulations, property developers are prohibited from participating in the relocation arrangements. Given the fact that the completion of the relocation procedures is the condition precedent for the relevant PRC governmental authorities to grant land use rights, any failure of the PRC governmental authorities in handling the relocation issues may cause substantial delays in the granting process of land use rights. If we cannot obtain the land use rights from the relevant governmental authorities in time, our development plan may be delayed, and we may not be able to complete the development and sell the property according to plan. This will, in turn, adversely affect our business operations.

We do not have insurance to cover potential losses and claims.

We do not maintain insurance policies for properties that we have delivered to our customers, and we maintain only limited insurance coverage against potential losses or damages with respect to our properties in the PRC before their delivery to customers. Although we require our contractors to carry insurance, we believe most of our contractors do not comply with this requirement. Our contractors may not be sufficiently insured themselves or have the financial ability to absorb any losses that arise with respect to our projects or pay our claims. In addition, there are certain types of losses, such as losses due to earthquakes, which are currently uninsurable in China. While we believe that our practice is in line with the general practice in the PRC property development industry, there may be instances when we will have to internalize losses, damages and liabilities because of the lack of insurance coverage, which may in turn adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, while we carry limited insurance on our operations in the United States, Malaysia and the U.K., such insurance may not be adequate to compensate us for any losses, damages and liabilities we might incur with regard to our properties.

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We may suffer a penalty or even forfeit land to the PRC government if we fail to comply with procedural requirements applicable to land grants from the government or the terms of the land use rights grant contracts.

According to the relevant PRC laws and regulations, if we fail to develop a property project according to the terms of the land use rights grant contract, including those relating to the payment of land premiums, specified use of the land and the time for commencement and completion of the property development, the PRC government may issue a warning, may impose a penalty or may order us to forfeit the land. Specifically, under current PRC laws and regulations, if we fail to pay land premiums in accordance with the payment schedule set forth in the relevant land use rights grant contract, the relevant PRC land bureau may issue a warning notice to us, impose late payment penalties or even require us to forfeit the related land to the PRC government. The late payment penalties are usually calculated based on the overdue days for the land premium payments. Furthermore, if we fail to commence development within one year after the commencement date stipulated in the land use rights grant contract, the relevant PRC land bureau may issue a warning notice to us and impose an idle land fee on the land of up to 20% of the land premium. If we fail to commence development within two years, then upon approval by the competent local branch of the PRC government, the land may be subject to forfeiture to the PRC government without any compensation. Even if the commencement of the land development is compliant with the land use rights grant contract, if the developed GFA on the land is less than one-third of the total GFA of the project that should have been under construction and development or the total capital invested is less than one-fourth of the total investment of the project and the suspension of the development of the land continues for more than one year without government approval, the land will also be treated as idle land and be subject to penalty or forfeiture.

We cannot assure you that circumstances leading to significant delays in our own land premium payments or development schedules or forfeiture of land will not arise in the future. If we pay a substantial penalty, we may not be able to meet pre-set investment targeted returns for a given project and our financial conditions could be adversely affected. If any of our land is forfeited, we will not only lose the opportunity to develop the property projects on such land, but may also lose a significant portion of the investment in such land, including land premium deposits and the development costs incurred.

Any non-compliant GFA of our uncompleted and future property developments will be subject to governmental approval and additional payments or even revocation of qualification certificate.

The local government authorities inspect property developments after their completion and issue the completion acceptance certificates if the developments are in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. If the total constructed GFA of a property development exceeds the GFA originally authorized in the relevant land grant contracts or construction permit, or if the completed property contains built-up areas that do not conform with the plan authorized by the construction permit, the property developer may be required to pay additional amounts or take corrective actions with respect to such non-compliant GFA before a completion acceptance certificate can be issued to the property development. Furthermore, if the total constructed GFA of a property development exceeds the constructed GFA limitation specified in the real estate development qualification obtained by the property developer, the property developer may be fined up to RMB100,000, or even have its qualification certificate and business license revoked.

We obtained completion acceptance certificates for all of our completed properties as of December 31, 2023. However, we cannot be certain that local government authorities will not determine that the total constructed GFA upon completion of our existing projects under development or any future property developments exceed the relevant authorized GFA. Any such non-compliance could lead to additional payments or penalty, which would adversely affect our financial condition. We have not incurred material amounts of any such payments or penalties since the founding of our company.

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We may not be able to continue obtaining qualification certificates, which will adversely affect our business.

Real estate developers in the PRC must obtain a formal qualification certificate in order to carry on a property development business in the PRC. According to the PRC regulations issued on the qualifications of property developers, a newly established property developer must first apply for a temporary qualification certificate with a one-year validity, which can be renewed for not more than two years. If, however, the newly established property developer fails to commence a property development project within the one-year period during which the temporary qualification certificate is in effect, it will not be allowed to renew its temporary qualification certificate. All qualification certificates are subject to inspection on an annual basis and shall be renewed upon expiration. Under government regulations, developers must fulfill all statutory requirements before they may obtain or renew their qualification certificates. In accordance with the provisions of the rules on the administration of qualifications, the real estate developer qualifications are classified into four classes and the approval system for each class is tiered. A real estate developer may only engage in the development and sale of real estate within the scope of its qualification certificate. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulation — China — Regulations on Qualifications of Developer.”

There can be no assurance that some of our project companies that are in the process of applying for or renewing proper qualification certificates will be able to obtain such certificates on a timely basis to commence their planned real estate projects development on schedule. There can be no further assurance that we and our project companies will continue to be able to extend or renew the qualification certificates or be able to successfully upgrade the current qualification class to a higher qualification. If we or our project companies are unable to obtain or renew qualification certificates, the PRC government will refuse to issue pre-sale and other permits necessary for the conduct of the property development business, and our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will be adversely affected. In addition, if any of our project companies engages in the development and sale of real estate outside the scope of its qualification certificate, it may be ordered to rectify such conduct within a prescribed period, be fined up to RMB100,000, or even have its qualification certificate and business license revoked.

Our failure to assist our customers in applying for property ownership certificates in a timely manner may lead to compensatory liabilities to our customers and our reputation and results of operations may be thus adversely affected.

We are statutorily required to assist our customers in their application process for property ownership certificates within 90 days after delivery of property, or such other period contracted with our customers, including in the way of submitting required materials to the real estate administration of the place where the house is located within 60 days from the day of delivery, passing various governmental clearances, formalities and procedures. If we failed to submit the required materials for property right registration within such period, we may be given a disciplinary warning and be ordered to take remedial measures within specified time limit, or be fined not less than RMB20,000 but not more than RMB30,000. Besides, under our typical sales contract, we are liable for any delay in the submission of the required documents as a result of our failure to meet such requirements, and are required to compensate our customers for delays. In the case of delays of submission of required documents, we are required under contracts with our customers to pay compensation to our customers and our reputation and results of operations may be adversely affected.

The property development business is subject to claims under statutory quality warranties.

Under PRC law, all property developers in the PRC must provide certain quality warranties for the properties they construct or sell. We are required to provide these warranties to our customers. Generally, we receive quality warranties from our third-party contractors with respect to our property projects. If a significant number of claims were brought against us under our warranties and if we were unable to obtain reimbursement for such claims from third-party contractors in a timely manner or at all, or if the money retained by us to cover our payment obligations under the quality warranties was not sufficient, we could incur significant expenses to resolve such claims or face delays in remedying the related defects, which could in turn harm our reputation, and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We may become involved in legal and other proceedings from time to time and may suffer significant liabilities or other losses as a result.

We have been, in the past, and may be, in future, involved in disputes with various parties relating to the acquisition of land use rights, the development and sale of our properties or other aspects of our business and operations. These disputes may lead to legal or other proceedings and may result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management’s attention. Disputes and legal and other proceedings may require substantial time and expense to resolve, which could divert valuable resources, such as management time and working capital, delay our planned projects and increase our costs. Third parties that are found liable to us may not have the resources to compensate us for our incurred costs and damages. We could also be required to pay significant costs and damages if we do not prevail in any such disputes or proceedings. In addition, we may have disagreements with regulatory bodies in the course of our operations, which may subject us to administrative proceedings and unfavorable decrees that result in pecuniary liabilities and cause delays to our property developments. On December 19, 2023, we received subpoenas from the SEC in connection with certain loans and compensations. Any unfavorable judgment in our current legal proceedings or any involvement in further legal proceedings or disputes may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.”

The relevant PRC tax authorities may challenge the basis on which we have been paying our land appreciation tax obligations and our results of operations and cash flows may be affected.

Under PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries engaging in property development are subject to land appreciation tax, or “LAT,” which is levied by the local tax authorities. All taxable gains from the sale or transfer of land use rights, buildings and their attached facilities in the PRC are subject to LAT at progressive rates ranging from 30% to 60%. Exemptions are available for the sale of ordinary residential properties if the appreciation values do not exceed certain thresholds specified in the relevant tax laws. Gains from the sale of commercial properties, luxury residential properties and villas are not eligible for this exemption.

We have accrued LAT payable on our property sales and transfers in accordance with the progressive rates specified in relevant tax laws, less amounts previously paid under the levy method applied by relevant local tax authorities. However, provision for LAT requires our management to use a significant amount of judgment with respect to, among other things, the anticipated total proceeds to be derived from the sale of the entire phase of the project or the entire project, the total appreciation of project value and the various deductible items. Given the time gap between the point at which we make provisions for and the point at which we settle the full amount of LAT payable, the relevant tax authorities may not necessarily agree with our apportionment of deductible expense or other bases on which we calculate LAT. As a result, our LAT expenses as recorded in our financial statements of a particular period may require subsequent adjustments. If the LAT provisions we have made are substantially lower than the actual LAT amounts assessed by the tax authorities in the future, our results of operations and cash flows will be materially and adversely affected. For a range of reasonably possible losses in excess of the amounts we have accrued for LAT, to the extent such estimates are determinable, see Note 15 of our Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

Our operations may be affected by the real property taxes to be imposed by the PRC government.

According to the Interim Regulations on Real Property Tax of the PRC, or the “Real Property Tax Regulations,” which were amended on January 8, 2011, real property tax shall be paid by the property owners based on the residual value of real property following a subtraction of 10% to 30% from the original value of the property, and the specific range of subtraction, the tax payment period and the detailed implementing rules shall be decided or formulated by the local governments of provinces. Although the PRC government has been considering imposing real property tax on a nationwide scale, most of the provinces have not promulgated any detailed implementing rules about real property tax or levy the real property tax yet. In another attempt to cool the real estate market, the PRC government has designated Shanghai and Chongqing as trial regions to impose the real property tax, and in response, on January 27, 2011, both Shanghai and Chongqing implemented local rules regarding the imposition of real property tax, with these rules taking effect on January 28, 2011, with Chongqing amending its rules on January 13, 2017. On February 20, 2013, the PRC State Council, in an executive meeting, stated a new policy regarding the real property tax that the government would select more trial regions for the real property tax that year. However, most provinces still have not implemented any local rules regarding the imposition of real property tax yet. Real property tax regulations may eventually be officially implemented at the national level; any such regulation could significantly impact the real estate market. In light of these developments, we cannot guarantee that our operations will not be adversely affected.

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Dividends we receive from our subsidiaries located in the PRC may be subject to PRC withholding tax.