(Yicai Global) June 20 -- Yu Lijuan has become the youngest female chief executive of a Chinese real estate firm after Ronshine China Holdings promoted her from the deputy CEO position.
The 37-year-old is replacing Wu Jian, who left the role at the end of last year, Shanghai-based Ronshine said in a statement today. Yu started in the marketing team in 2007 and was elected executive director earlier this year.
Her claim to fame at Ronshine was rapid business expansion in Hangzhou, where sales last year tallied CNY40.3 billion (USD5.8 billion) to make up a third of the national total and earned her the trust of Chairman Ou Zonghong.
Ou founded in Fujian province in 2003, Ronshine moved to Shanghai in 2013 and last year ranked 25th among China's biggest developers with sales of CNY121.9 billion, a 73 percent surge from the previous year.
It hopes to bring in CNY140 billion in 2019 but is struggling with a mass of liabilities. Its net gearing ratio, which divides total debt by total shareholder equity, was 1.05 as of last year, considerably higher than the 0.8 percent industry benchmark.
One of the main reasons behind the mound of debt is Ronshine's CNY11 billion purchase of a high-end residential plot in central Shanghai in 2016, for which it paid a 139 percent premium over the auction starting price. However, the current market environment has put a dampener on plans and the project has not yet gone ahead.
Editor: James Boynton