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Virus Outbreak Chills China’s Red-Hot Home Rental Startups

  • Epidemic creates havoc for landlords, tenants, platform owners
  • Covid-19 is ravaging a sector potentially worth $600 billion
An empty street in Hangzhou on Feb. 5.
An empty street in Hangzhou on Feb. 5.Photographer: Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

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Zhang Yan learned first-hand how the coronavirus is ravaging China’s once booming real estate economy. The Shanghai landlord on internet home-listings platform Danke was surprised when she recently got a terse notice from the company declaring it would withhold all rental payments for a month because of the epidemic.