The exterior of a building with so-called youth apartments by Chinese developer China Vanke is seen in Shenzhen, China April 26, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

The Shenzhen government has circulated an online notice seeking feedback on a new public rental housing policy, highlighting a possible return to a policy 30 years ago of “public rental and not sales,” the state-owned National Business Daily reported on Tuesday.

The government said on August 31 it is soliciting opinions from the public on its website and social media accounts such as WeChat. It aims to “purchase, rent and renovate” 1 million units from the so-called urban villages, which are villages in the outskirts of Shenzhen city, to be put on the city’s rental market.

He Qingru, a director at Midland Realty China, told the National Business Daily that the policy is aimed at trying to stop “certain companies” from “profiteering without giving back to society.”

The move also marks a reversal of 30 years of urban land policy for the local Shenzhen government, where it did away with zoning for housing supply and allowed state-owned lands to be transacted in 1988. The policy went country-wide a year later, allowing land use rights to be assigned to developers.

With China’s central government attempting to curb property prices since the Golden Week last year, the policy might signify a shift in tackling the housing supply as public rental schemes are being launched in 13 cities.

Read: Shenzhen seeks advice on new housing regulations

Read: Rental housing scheme ‘totally different’ says land ministry
Read: Rental housing scheme launched for 13 Chinese cities