BEIJING: Debt-mired developer Evergrande is struggling to appease angry homebuyers and investors knocking on its doors for cash taken as deposits for unbuilt homes and promised yields.

Here is a timeline of Evergrande’s rise to one of China’s biggest developers and demise into one of its worst debtors:

1996: The dream begins

Steel-factory worker Xu Jiayin starts Evergrande, targeting millions of middle-class Chinese climbing onto the property ladder across the rapidly urbanising country.

2009 – 2010: Start of expansion

After going public in 2009, Evergrande takes control of Chinese Super League club Guangzhou, renaming Guangzhou Evergrande and spends billions of dollars on foreign players, helping it to win a succession of titles.

The company also moves into the dairy, grain and oil businesses and later tries to build an electric car – kicking off a debt-fuelled spending spree.

2017: Richest man

Xu becomes the richest person in Asia with a net worth of US$43 billion.

2018: Central bank raises red flag

In November the first signs of trouble emerge when China’s central bank adds Evergrande to its list of highly indebted conglomerates to watch, flagging that a potential collapse could cause systemic risks.

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