Chairman's message
Chairman

The property market in China was thriving in 2016 and vivacious too particularly in the first three quarters. Came the last quarter, despite that new austerity measures were launched by the government, the market did not recede but continued on the growth path. Overall, both the area sold and value transacted of commodity housing reached historical heights during the year. Growth of investment in property development and new areas being built, however, continued to be slow, and there was a big gap between the market performance of first-tier and second-tier cities, and that of third-tier and fourth-tier cities. Cities in different regions also performed very differently. However, the control policies of the government have clear targets. The critical tasks of the control measures included keeping property price from rising too fast in key cities and averting financial risks. With that in mind, the property sector has a defined path to walk.

Regardless of how policies are adjusted, as peopleˇ¦s income increases, fertility policy changes, new employment rate climbs, the capital market gradually optimizes, social benefits are released and the population mobility policy opens, housing demand inevitably rockets. Thus, at the same time as we objectively deal with the different austerity measures, we also make sure we are ready to seize development opportunities in the market. Hopefluent will capitalize on its industry leadership and strong market competitiveness in coping with the changing market environment, upholding in its strive for continuous development as well as the principle of operating with a proper approach and in abide by law, yet without forgetting about innovation.

In 2016, Hopefluent recorded turnover of HK$3,966 million, up by 44% as compared to HK$2,760 million in 2015. Profit attributable to shareholders amounted to HK$302 million, up by 35% as compared to HK$223 million in 2015.

Rise in income of primary property real estate agency services

Seizing precisely the opportunity of the government introducing policies to encourage reduction of inventory, and applying its resources advantage and making full use of its marketing channels, the business achieved excellent performance yet again. In 2016, the primary property real estate agency services segment recorded turnover of HK$2,478 million, up by 37% year-onyear. In addition to the outstanding results achieved in major cities in Pearl River Delta region including Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan, the credit of the outstanding results of the business for the year also goes to the over 1,000 property projects in more than 150 cities in over 20 provinces including Anhui, Jiangsu in Eastern China district and Shandong, Guangxi, Tianjin, Henan and Hubei.

Rapid growth in secondary property real estate agency business

Complementary to its primary property real estate agency business, the Group's secondary property real estate agency business is also well-deployed and boasts strong competitiveness and brand exposure, especially in the Pearl River Delta region. In 2016, turnover from the business was HK$943 million, an increase of 73% year-on-year. The number of the Group's secondary branches increased from 310 to about 400 providing agency services in relation to lease and sale of residential properties, shops and offices. In addition to the secondary business, the branches also supported the Group's primary property real estate agency business as commanded by market demand.

Outstanding performance in financial services business

The Group launched its online financial services platform in September 2015 and has since integrated services with offline microcredit business, and as such is presenting a very valuable service to various enterprise customers. Building on Hopefluentˇ¦s strong reputation, we have launched a host of financial products which are well-recognized by the market. In 2016, the loans originated of the financial services business exceeded HK$3 billion and achieved commendable results with revenue amounting to approximately HK$113 million, an increase of 126% year-on-year.

Continuous optimization of quality property management business

During the year, property management business developed in line with the Group's expectation and contributed stable and satisfactory income. Turnover from the business increased by 23% to approximately HK$432 million. In 2016, the Group provided property management services to approximately 300 residential, office and commercial properties in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan, with total gross floor area under management of approximately 30 million sq.m.

We position Hopefluent as an integrated property service operator in China and the above four business segments are currently its four pillar businesses. Since early 2016, we have been defining and managing the four segments heeding different market perspectives, the aim of which is to unleash synergies among them and assure their balanced and fast growth. Moreover, the Group's mobile apps including iHouseKing (www.ihk.cn), Fang Zhuan Jia (房專家), He Ji Mai Lou (合記買樓) and HFmoney (合富金融) (www.hfmoney.com) for access to its online service platforms, and also its WeChat public accounts including Hopefluent, iHouseKing and HFmoney, which cover its entire business chain are widely welcomed by the market. Using the Internet platform is a reflection of the Group's effort to keep pace with time and match the development of the ˇ§Internet+ˇ¨ commercial ecosystem and that it further optimized the Group's diverse services and integrated competitive strength.

With the Group's businesses boasting strong advantages, the management of Hopefluent and I are very confident about the Group's development prospects. The Group will continue to apply its professional and innovative service system and with determination embrace market changes, solidify its business presence in first- and second-tier cities, speed up in enlarging market share and steadfastly implement its diversified and flexible business strategies. Its goals are to enhance its brand image and profitability, and ultimately create greater value for customers and bring higher returns to shareholders.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all shareholders, our business partners, and our staff, customers and investors for their support and trust over the years. I also wish to express my gratitude to each and every employee for their dedication and contribution and for growing together with the Group.