The First National Real Estate Innovation Competition Rewards Innovative Practices in Chinese Students

The first National Real Estate Innovation Competition was held by the Higher Education Steering Committee for the Discipline of Real Estate Development and Management and Property Management, co-hosted with the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab), the Real Estate Research Institute of Tsinghua University School of Civil Engineering, and the Housing and Community Research Institute of Tsinghua University School of Architecture. The Competition was sponsored by the STL Lab, and was supported by the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design.

Thirteen teams from Tsinghua University, Peking University, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Southeast University, Guangzhou University, Harbin Institute of Technology, South China University of Technology, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Shenyang Jianzhu University, Tianjin Chengjian University, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Renmin University of China, Central University of Finance and Economics participated in the competition. The participants came from all over the China and were inspired by innovation, team work, sustainability and green development, as well as idea exchange. The central theme of the competition was urban renewal. The aim was to build an innovative platform for Chinese university students to demonstrate their talents.

The kick-off ceremony was held at Tsinghua University on June 4th, 2016. The training program on urban renewal took place in Xi'an, China on September 15th. Relevant training materials were published on the Competition’s website to share with students all over the county. During the initial discussion phase, representatives from universities, the government, and real estate-related industries gathered together and introduced successful cases of urban renewal in China. Representatives shared their understanding of the background of urban renewal, the different ways of implenting the renewal process, how to fundraise for the project, how to organize the management team, and how to best manage available assets. The atmosphere of the conference was intense and productive. The Competition participants and professors, as well as resident students, exchanged ideas on how to reform and protect old towns, how to conduct project financing, and how to ensure the efficient and continuous operation of the project.

The final presentation and awards ceremony of the contest was held at Tsinghua University on November 5th. On behalf of Mr. Samuel Tak Lee, Dr. Yu-Hung Hong, Director of the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab, expressed Mr. Lee's appreciation for the contest. Dr. Hong also congratulated the teams who entered the final stages, and explained that the main idea behind the competition is to enhance young people' s concern and sense of social responsibility in the real estate market. He also explained that the contest was designed to promote national and international real estate innovation and encourage idea exchanges between entrepreneurs all over the country.

Through rigorous on-campus selection, thirteen teams attended the final competition. The participating teams conducted incredible presentations of their plans. The team from Tsinghua University won the grand prize for their plan of a Cultural-Image Industrial Park called "Beijing Collage." The teams from the Dongbei University of Finance and Economics and Peking University won the first prize. The teams from the South China University of Technology, Beijing Jiaotong University, and the Central University of Finance and Economics, won the second prize. The teams from Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Shenyang Jianzhu University, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Renmin University of China, Harbin Institute of Technology, Southeast University, and Tianjin Chengjian University, won the third prize. In addition, the team from Harbin Institute of Technology won the award for the “Most Innovative” project. The team from Beijing Jiaotong University won the “Best Expression” award. The “Best Design” award was given to the team from Central University of Finance and Economics. The award for “Most Social Value” was presented to the team from Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology. The team from Shanghai University of Finance received the award for “Most Sustainability.” Last but not least, the award for “Best Economic Analysis” was given to the team from South China University of Technology. Also, some of the award-winning team representatives and their instructors were invited to MIT for a two-week exchange visit. This exchange opportunity was an important feature which differentiates this contest with similar ones.

This competition marks an attempt to cultivate innovative talents in the real estate industry. The organizers wanted to guide students to pay more attention to the development of the development market and the entire trajectory of the market. The contest succeeded in building a platform for students and entrepreneurs to communicate with each other, which helped cultivate the thinking, expressing, competing, and cooperating abilities of students.  While the first National Real Estate Innovation Competition has come to an end, the young participants will continue to make progress in the field of innovative real estate and work towards socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship.