Pretentious Property Developers

The magnetism of old(-ish) Hong Kong money and new Mainland China money has fueled the construction of pompous residential real estate developments across China’s Pearl River Delta. I’m sure many of the residents of these complexes are quite normal and don’t actually act as though they live on the sets of Dynasty or Dallas, but the promotional materials reek from the pretension of the tasteless developers.

For example, in Macau the new “One Grantai” (大潭山壹號), set near the casino-dominated Cotai Strip, prominently features the following pretentious (and yet strangely meaningless) quote on its website:

“A Majestic Kingdom with a token of luxury and superiority.”

In Hong Kong’s New Territories “Providence Bay” (天賦海灣) seeks to convince potential buyers of its relaxed, but exclusive, sea-side feeling with a series of photographs of white people on luxury yachts:

Sadly, while the development is on the Tolo Harbor, there is no marina* at Providence Bay. But that doesn’t stop the grasping developers from describing their low-rise condo development as having the:

“Communal atmosphere of the coastal regions of southern France.”

Finally, the most pompous of them all, “The Beverly Hills (比華利山別墅) of Hong Kong, provides the following nauseating copyright:

“When it comes to choosing a perfect home, the rich and powerful never settle for less.

“The Beverly Hills is majestically situated on the most exclusive stretch of Tai Po coastline, a crown jewel shining on a crystal aquamarine sea. Nestled in an infinity of sky and sea, its noble bearing invites admiration from those who appreciate only the finest things in life.”

Such quotes are interspersed with photographs of faux royalty, including a bridal couple in a gilded carriage, mounted guards, and this chummy group of Oxbridge-esque, privileged youth:

For potential buyers with a greater interest in Eastern-style auspiciousness, “The Bev’s” property developers pull out a full-frontal Feng Shui assault:

“The exceptional location of The Beverly Hills endows it with superb Feng Shui. … Mountains beyond mountains and water appearing to float above water compose an enfolding Tai Chi pattern resembling a ‘treasure box’. .. The Beverly Hills is a residential gem commended by many leading Feng Shui masters.”

But don’t assume this is exclusively a “China-thing,” as most of these developers probably got their original ideas from the pretentious residential developments of America. Think Donald Trump or great swaths of Southern California. Even my own childhood neighborhood in desert-dry, “salt-of-the-earth” Utah was named “Somerset Farm” after the rolling green countryside of southwest England. Tacky property developers lurk the world-over, waiting for little local spikes in wealth to sell to.

Have a favorite bit of nauseating real estate copy? Please share.

(Sources for respective photographs and quotes: One Grantai, Providence Bay, and The Beverly Hills promotional websites.)

*There is a small public pier. I think I saw a small fishing boat there. Once.

15 responses to “Pretentious Property Developers

  1. My favorite is a complex by my office. It is called “Richgate” I tried to explain to my Chinese friends why that wasn’t the best name but…

  2. I almost forgot about Chinese real estate ads..! Did you see the ones at the ferry TV, with the foreign guy relaxing with a cigar and a chinese wife, as it was the top of the wealth? I dont know if any foreigner feels attracted for those ads to buy any department..! 😀

  3. I have a bit on that here:

    The problem is that they don’t have native speakers on staff (and if they do then they have no English ability), so every single thing is ‘majestic’, deluxe luxury, sumptuous elegance… oh and everything is ‘truly’… ‘truly’ magnificent residential opulence with expansive majesty and timeless quality…

    There is another new one in Shanghai called “Livable Mansion”… which doesn’t mean anything. At best it means the place is barely livable. ‘How is the mansion?’ ‘well, you can live in it…’

    • I love “Livable Mansion” and the one on your post “Embracing Heritage…Setting Trends.”

      Suppose at the end of the day they’re mainly using English to make these places appear “international” and “upscale” and that most of their buyers don’t speak English, speak English as a second language, or speak perfect English and laugh off the bad-marketing if the development itself is attractive enough.

      Like poorly drawn or meaningly Chinese character tattoos in the West that give the general impression of “Eastern Exoticism” but are laughable to native speakers.

  4. Interesting article and love your writing tone.
    I often see property developers stuff white models inside the ads and make the property sound like it’s a “palace westerners like to live and so you rich Chinese people might also like it because it’s so western”. Alternatively, the property ads make you feel like you live in a dynasty 200 years ago where you were served by 100 maids. The Providence Bay ads with the model in swimming suit reminds me exactly that kind of cliche Chinese way of prestige.
    Nice article, thanks for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Starfish Bay (海星灣), Lok Wo Sha « Hong Kong (& Macau) Stuff·

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