© Reuters. China Evergrande Group protestors gather outside Evergrande International Center Guangzhou Guangdong Province, China on January 4, 2022. Police officers are standing guard. REUTERS/David Kirton
By David Kirton
GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters). Thousands of investors in China Evergrande Group financial products protested at the Guangzhou office on Tuesday. They were worried about losing their investment to maintain real estate projects afloat.
Around 100 members of the crowd shouted, “Evergrande return our money!”As disgruntled suppliers and investors became more aware of the company’s financial woes, they recited an old chant.
Evergrande, which announced Friday a dial back of its plans to repay investors, said that they could each expect an 8,000 Yuan ($1,256 per month) principal payment, regardless of the date their investment matures. [L4N2TG17J]
Evergrande, once China’s most popular developer, is now insolvent with more than $300 billion. However, Evergrande previously agreed to repay 10% at the end of each month, when the product matured.
Investors were worried that the change would lead to a loss of their investment.
A retired woman named Du said that she believed it was hopeless and scared. However, if they don’t fight to protect our rights, then things will get worse.” She said she has invested one million Yuan in Evergrande wealth management tools.
“The economy isn’t good right now, these people are normal and they need the money for their kids, to support their parents,” she stated.
About 60 people had stopped protesting by midday.
Tens of thousands of investors purchased wealth management products from Evergrande, lured by gifts like Dyson purifiers or Gucci bags that promised yields close to 12% and the assurance of China’s number-one developer. [L1N2QN2YG]
More than 80,000 people – including employees, their families and friends as well as owners of Evergrande properties – bought products that raised more than 100 billion yuan in the past five years, said a sales manager of Evergrande Wealth, launched in 2016 as a peer-to-peer (P2) online lending platform that originally was used to fund its property projects.
A 34-year old protester working in ecommerce said, “We fear we will be sacrificed.” She would only use Sophie’s name out of fear of being retaliated against by authorities.
“It’s okay for younger people like me, we can still earn it back, but I’m worried about the older ones who put everything into this,” she said.
China Evergrande has not yet responded to our request for comments on the investor concerns or the protest.
Evergrande owes money to protestors and other members of the messaging groups. They claim that police told them not to make trouble and they have had their chat group blocked.
Sophie stated that police took her to the station 4 times, since September when she participated in protests at Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen.
She stated, “We don’t really know what happens with our money. But we can keep it quiet.
($1 = 6.3718 renminbi)