Property executive who has sold US$14 billion worth of homes over the past 20 years now has a plan to solve Hong Kong's housing crisis

By Peggy Sito / | October 8, 2019 5:24 AM SGT
Robert Lee Chi-hong has sold nearly 12,000 houses valued at around US$14 billion over the past 22 years. But now he wants to build public housing.
He started off as a right-hand man to Singaporean tycoon Robert Ng Chee Siong, chairman of Sino Land and later on moved to Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD), controlled by Richard Li Tzar-kai, the youngest son of the city's richest man Li Ka-shing.
"I have been involved in building numerous beautiful homes throughout my career," said Lee, who in May retired as chief executive and deputy chairman of PCPD and was then named non-executive chairman.
Robert Lee Chi-hong in March 2005. Photo: Dustin Shum alt=Robert Lee Chi-hong in March 2005. Photo: Dustin Shum
Lee has mooted an innovative proposal in his individual capacity which, he believes, can quickly solve the city's housing crisis.
It is the lack of affordable housing and rising income inequality that are seen as major causes of the nearly four-month long protests. The increasingly violent demonstrations have taken the economy to the verge of a recession, hitting sectors such as retail, tourism and restaurants, and hurting property prices.
His proposal calls for the use of 1 per cent of the city's green belt to create a new satellite town of 500,000 affordable flats to be built by the government and the necessary transport links to connect it to the urban metropolis. The new satellite town would be a self-sustaining community with its own school networks, clinics, day care centres and sports and recreational facilities.
The former lawyer wants the government to build flats in three sizes " 200 square feet, 500 sq ft and 800 sq ft " and allocate it to individuals, couples and families on the waiting list for public rental...