Housing costs have soared in China in recent years, and apartments are out of reach for many struggling individuals. But a retired engineer wants to make a difference by providing affordable apartments for those who have difficulty making ends meet.
Retired engineer Huang Rixin is the designer and owner of capsule apartments. Located in the outskirts of Beijing, this compact housing is home to some of China’s young, struggling workers.
[Huang Rixin, Owner of Capsule Apartments]: (Male, Mandarin)
"I hope we can get the real estate developers' sympathy as the house prices are rocketing, and hope they realize that there are still lots of poor university graduates and poor people in need. I wish they can sometimes donate some of the high-priced houses they fail to sell and make them capsule apartments to rent out, it would benefit more people. I want to raise the awareness and encourage people to use ingenuity."
Huang was inspired by Tokyo's capsule hotels. He rented three rooms from a local farmer and transformed them into eight living units, hoping to shed light on the housing situation for young, low income people.
One tenant has been jobless since she graduated from university last year. She is waiting for a breakthrough in her music career.
[Wen Jiao, Tenant]: (Female, Mandarin)
"Because of the high prices of housing, I have never thought of buying a house. The rental fees get more expensive as the housing prices soar. It's extremely difficult for poor people like me. I can't afford to rent a house. Even if I have a job, I can only make about 3,000 yuan (440 US dollars) per month. One third of my salary will go to the rental fees, so I feel very upset."
Another tenant seems content living in the apartment, for now.
Huang said he plans to build more capsule apartments in Beijing and across the country.