News release

Green Shoots: Gradual Recovery Begins to Appear in Select Industries

Latest update regarding COVID-19 impact on China’s property market

April 15, 2020

HONG KONG, 15 April 2020 – Two months after the lockdown and the introductory of precautionary measures, the COVID-19 outbreak is showing signs of stabilization in China, and positive signs are emerging with office and industrial workers returning to work. The latest research report published by JLL, Are Green Shoots Emerging in China?, highlights the resilient industries are seizing growth opportunities and the potentially positive impact for real estate markets. JLL’s initial observations on the resumption of economic activity in China provides a guide for businesses and investors on how a recovery might present in other impacted markets globally, showing a level of optimism amidst unprecedented uncertainty.

Nelson Wong, Head of Research at JLL in Greater China, said: “While the COVID-19 has negatively impacted many industries in China, it has also created potential growth opportunities in various sectors. Industries that provide much-needed services such as insurance, online entertainment, healthcare, proptech and digital economy remain resilient and we expect them to propel the leasing market once the outbreak is further contained.”

Sector activity reignites

At the height of the outbreak, COVID-19 brought most industries in China to a standstill. Now, many traditional industries are slowly returning to normal. At the same time, we are seeing that select industries showing growth potentials. 

  • Digital economy - Appealing to an enormous domestic consumer base, enterprises catering to big data, cloud platforms and artificial intelligence have proven essential services during the outbreak and are set to see their business grow;
  • Insurance - Insurance awareness has understandably spiked in China. We are observing a rise in office leasing, upgrade and expansion from domestic insurers, many of whom have seen business volumes grow;
  • Online entertainment - We expect ongoing demand for online entertainment which has received a significant boost from consumers since January, such as mobile gaming and livestreaming, to translate to office expansion demand, as new users continue their newly acquired habits;
  • Healthcare – The demand for health services, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment has seen steady growth. This trend is likely to accelerate further as the spending on health and wellness continues. Office, research and development, and manufacturing space are likely to be in high demand, and will be more visible on the radars of investors today;
  • Proptech - Landlords have responded by implementing new health-related technologies in their properties. In parallel, occupiers have also become better equipped by investing in online solutions to encourage remote working arrangements. We expect this trend to progress further.
Different real estate sectors are impacted uniquely by COVID-19

The health crisis and its impact on commercial real estate markets has also become apparent. Uncertainties and the slowdown of many business activities have softened occupier demand. However, JLL is also witnessing resilience in real estate demand, generally from individuals and companies who take a longer-term view of the market. Across China, individual real estate sectors may differ in the length of recovery process.

JLL’s observations on the major commercial real estate asset classes include:

  • Office tenants are taking advantage of lower accommodation costs;
  • Retail is suffering the most, but opportunities are arising for innovative platforms
  • Logistics is weathering the storm and the warehouse sector is demonstrating a degree of resilience;
  • Hospitality demand is sprouting. Accommodation demand is anticipated to increase as travel confidence improves later in 2020;
  • Investment is refocusing on the long-term.

As COVID-19 remains a fluid situation globally, the world is watching these green shoots in China carefully and analytically. China is without a doubt only in the first stages of what will be a gradual recovery, but our initial observations do give us optimism on the ability of economies and markets to rebound from this unprecedented global challenge,” said Wong

Click here to download the full report of “Are Green Shoots Emerging in China?”.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 93,000 as of December 31, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit