A professor kept his promise of making a full-page apology in Tuesday's South China Metropolis Daily, three days before his deadline, for his prediction that the housing prices in Shenzhen would rise.
Xu Dianqing, a part-time professor at China's Economic Research Center at Peking University, said at a forum in Shenzhen on July 11 last year that property prices in Shenzhen would rise before July 11 this year and made a bet with Niu Dao, a financial commentator, that housing prices would not be a penny lower on July 11 this year than last year.
They agreed that the benchmark would be the average price of 15,754 yuan (about 2,188 US dollars) per square meter for new apartments announced by the city's housing department.
Xu's standpoint is that the inflow of "hot money" from outside China and wealth accumulation of Shenzhen residents would push up housing prices in Shenzhen.
"Shenzhen housing prices would never decline as long as the money keeps flowing into Shenzhen," Xu said in his article.
However it turned out that the average price per square meter in Shenzhen had dropped by 3,000 yuan as of May this year.
In the 1,747-character letter, Xu opened the first paragraph by "I apologize to the Shenzhen people".
"One year will have gone by since I said that the house prices would rise, I owe you the apology then," Xu said in the letter.
He said that the apology has nothing to do with the bet, and the main content of the letter is warning Shenzhen people of the possible financial crisis.
Liu Genghuai, a commercial department staffer at the newspaper, said that Xu had transmitted the 36,900 yuan fee for the advert into the account of the South China Metropolis Daily on Monday afternoon.
"No discount was granted", said Liu.
Xu admitted that when he made the prediction, he didn't think of elements such as the credit crunch triggered by subprime crisis and the dive in China's stock market.
"In the long term, the housing price in Shenzhen will rise, my only mistake is that I set the period of one year in my prediction," said Xu.
(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2008)