At first glance, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the dormitory at Feng Shui’s Shangri-La complex on the outskirts of Beijing appears to be a dream home.
For the owner, however, the dream doesn’t end there.
“It was built by the city of Beijing, and we have to give it to them because we are Chinese,” said Zhang Wei.
“I have lived here my whole life, so I wanted to buy a house.”
Zhang’s dream of owning a home in the Shangri’s dormitory complex, in a building with a roof, was not an easy one to come by.
“The city is not friendly to foreigners,” Zhang said.
“My dream is not just to live here and live my life in peace, but also to buy an apartment in China, and I will do my best to buy one.”
But Zhang Wei’s dream never came true.
When the owner finally did buy the property, he didn’t realize that it was not a good idea.
“Because it was built in a bad way, I couldn’t use it for my apartment,” he said.
A bad house in the city’s shabby downtown area, with no access to running water or electricity, could be a perfect fit for a foreign investor.
“You need to build an apartment for a foreigner in China,” said Zhu Yuanyi, who bought the property from Zhang Wei and built it for himself in 2005.
“He [Zhang] is really a good businessman, so he thought it would be a good opportunity for me to buy the house.”
For Zhang Wei, the opportunity came in 2008 when he sold his apartment in Beijing for a reported $1 million.
He bought a 2,500 square meter (2,500 sq. ft.) flat in the Chinese capital and rented it out for one year.
Zhang Wei has a bachelor’s degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Zhu Yuairyi, a Chinese citizen who lives in Australia and is a real estate agent in Sydney, was also able to rent out his apartment to Zhang Wei in the summer of 2008, when the market was strong.
“We had no access and no electricity, and so the electricity was so expensive,” Zhu Yuanyai said.
Zhu Zhuya, a Sydney resident who is also a realtor, said that Zhang Wei was a “good tenant.”
“He paid a fair amount,” Zhu Zhuyuan said.
But Zhang Yuanyin said that when he returned to Australia, the property was a different story.
“Zhang Wei told me that he was in a rush to sell it, and he didn´t pay for the electricity,” Zhu Yuyuan said, referring to the electricity the house was lacking.
Zhu Yushan, who rents out the apartment, said Zhang was a very quiet person.
“That´s why I thought that he would be the kind of tenant who wouldn´t care about the money, but would care about his family,” Zhu said.
The real estate market in the United States was hot at the time, so Zhang Wei paid his own way to the property in China.
“People in Australia didn´T know what was going on here, so they were looking at the price and didn´ts think of it as fair,” Zhu told Al Jazeera.
“So I asked him for money and he gave me 500,000 yuan [$8,800] and I bought the house for the same amount.”
The family that lived in the property is a small family, with only Zhang Wei as the sole breadwinner, Zhu Yuonyi said, adding that he didnât know about the other tenants in the apartment.
“When I moved in, I didnâve any idea what was happening in the real estate markets,” he added.
“But I can´t say that they have an apartment because I canât rent it out.” “
Al Jazeera spoke to a representative of the property developer who was in charge of the transaction, who told Al Jazeera that the property had sold for around 10 million yuan ($1.1 million) and that the apartment was sold for “around 4 million yuan [approximately $1,600]”. “
But I can´t say that they have an apartment because I canât rent it out.”
Al Jazeera spoke to a representative of the property developer who was in charge of the transaction, who told Al Jazeera that the property had sold for around 10 million yuan ($1.1 million) and that the apartment was sold for “around 4 million yuan [approximately $1,600]”.
“We will work hard to find the next tenant for the property,” said Jiang Zhaodong, director of the Shangrai property.
The apartment is not the only property Zhang Wei bought.
In 2009, Zhang Wei acquired the 2,400 square meter apartment at the Shangryuan Hotel, which was used as a brothel by prostitutes.
Zhang also purchased a 5,000 square meter condo that was built as a residence.
Zhang said that he bought the two properties because he didn