Chairman's message
Chairman

In 2019, economic growth in Mainland China slowed down as a result of the uncertainties in the global economic environment and progress of the China-US trade dispute and negotiations. The Chinese Government has repeatedly emphasized "houses are for living in, not for speculation", and "property and real estate should not be used as the means to stimulate the economy in the short term". These macroeconomic austerity measures have generated more advantages than disadvantages as they have helped stabilise the overall property market in Mainland China by preventing overheating in property prices and opening the door for property purchases for mass consumers.

Facing a complicated and changing market environment, the Group, as a national property real estate agency enterprise, applied its acute market insights and extensive industry experience, as well as capitalise on its nationwide presence and competitive advantages across Southern China and the Yangtze River Delta region to quickly and effectively address various challenges. During the year under review, the Group achieved satisfactory results with overall turnover amounting to HK$6,076 million, approximately 25% higher than HK$4,878 million in 2018. Profit attributable to shareholders was HK$484 million. Among which, profit from continuing and discontinued operations was HK$252 million and HK$232 million respectively. Profit attributable to shareholders was HK$327 million in 2018, with profit from continuing and discontinued operations amounting to HK$303 million and HK$24 million respectively.

Property real estate agency services business remained healthy

In 2018, the Group and Poly Developments and Holdings Group Co. Ltd. ("Poly Developments") combined each other's advantages to establish Hopefluent (China) Real Estate Consultancy Co., Ltd. The partnership has allowed the parties to combine their strengths to co-develop the real estate agency business and also extend and optimise their strategic deployment in key cities across the country. The Group has also enhanced its sales capability, human resources structure and quality of its services. That plus the Internet value-added services have enabled it to realise true seamless online and offline connections and provide better services to property buyers, hence consolidating its leading position in the industry. During the year under review, turnover of the property real estate agency services business was HK$5,861 million, an increase of approximately 25%, making substantial contributions to the GroupíŽs outstanding annual results.

Financial services business continued to make progress

Since its debut, the Group's financial services business has been providing services targeting different aspects in property consumption, including household consumption and short-term consumer loans for property buyers. Holding legal licenses issued by the government and based on the philosophy of operating according to laws and regulations, the Group has gradually introduced financing services targeting large developers. The Group hopes to do well in these new financial and asset management businesses so as to support the healthy development of its property real estate agency services business, improve profitability and also lay a solid foundation for its long-term development. During the year, the financial services business recorded a turnover of HK$215 million, a year-on-year increase of approximately 24%.

Conclusion

Since the beginning of 2020, the Novel Coronavirus epidemic has spread globally and presented severe challenges to all industries. The Group's businesses were inevitably affected. Nonetheless, the Chinese economy has maintained a long-term upward trend. While the epidemic has affected the property market in the short-term, given that the epidemic will eventually come under control, the market will improve accordingly.

With the methods of property sales diversifying, the application of internet mobile communication technology allows property buyers to gain understanding and look for consultation online and then to make appointments for offline tours to the showroom flats and conduct the actual transactions. The Group has a professional team to develop and design different internet programs that suit the market and itself, ensuring the leading position of its businesses. Meanwhile, its cooperation with Poly Developments through a joint venture has also enabled the Group to largely expand its business presence, particularly in the Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau Greater Bay Area with outstanding market potential, thereby further boosting its leadership in the property real estate market. The Group will continue to consolidate its new and existing businesses and grasp development opportunities, so as to bring a broaderbased growth momentum.

Capitalising on the Group's solid foundation in the property real estate sector and its close cooperative relations with major developers, plus the central government's policies to pave the way for the recovery of the property market, the Group will capture the opportunities to facilitate steady and healthy development of its property real estate businesses, drive growth of its financial business, and ultimately enable the Group to achieve more remarkable business results.

On behalf of the Group and the Board, I would like to thank all employees of Hopefluent for their relentless efforts contributing to the outstanding business results. I would also wish to express my gratitude to our shareholders, business partners, customers and investors for their unwavering support to and trust in the Group. The Group's entire workforce will continue to work together striving their utmost, generating satisfactory returns for shareholders.