Catch Phrase | 老破小(lǎopòxiǎo)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-11-15


Literally meaning “old, shabby and small,” this term refers to the kind of apartments in the downtown sections of Chinese cities that are rather small (normally 40-60㎡), old, and with no elevators or proper management. Usually built by government or State-owned enterprises in the era of the planned economy in China, these apartments, with a history of more than two decades, are easy to identify among high-rise buildings and new housing estates in cities.


A: 听说你买房了?

Tīngshuō nǐ mǎifáng le?

Is it true that you’ve bought an apartment?

B: 是的。我积蓄不多,所以买了间老破小,好处是离公司近,生活方便。

Shì de。Wǒ jīxù bù duō,suǒyǐ mǎi le jiān lǎopòxiǎo,hǎochù shì lí gōngsī jìn,shēnghuó fāngbiàn。

True. I don’t have a lot of savings, so I bought a small old apartment in downtown. The bright side is its closeness to my office, so it makes life convenient.