Dream Empire – China’s Real Estate Bubble


In 2012 the Chinese real estate market was booming, but only a few years later that dream is threatening to evaporate.

This documentary film takes a look behind the Chinese real estate industry’s glamorous facade. It focuses on Yana, a young woman from the countryside who has come to Chongqing to live her own personal “Chinese Dream.” Attracted by the glamour and the fast money of the historic real estate boom, she and a friend founded a company that provides foreign actors for big PR events – often recruiting them on her journeys through Chongqing’s nightlife. The more international they looked, the more popular they were with Yana’s real estate clients. Yana gave her actors identities that were adapted to meet her clients’ preferences, and marketed them directly at industry fairs.

The actors were booked for dance and music shows at house-opening events. Ability wasn’t important; all that mattered was their foreign appearance, adding an international touch to the apartments advertised. Now, just a few years later, the chronic overcapacity of China’s real estate companies is slowly making itself felt. As the cities become saturated, construction companies are moving into the countryside to throw up modern, international metropolises there in next to no time. But instead of lively housing estates, more and more of them are becoming ghost towns. The system’s facade is crumbling, buyers who feel cheated out of their money are protesting, and the real estate bubble is threatening to burst. When Yana realized why her actors were being booked, she was shocked and began to have doubts. In the end, she had no choice but to sell her stake in the company.


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