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China: Land and real estate companies are taking watermelons and other vegetables as payment.

Some Chinese companies that sell land and real estate have said they will accept food as payment. This has been going on for the past few months in order to attract customers.

Companies have advertised deals that allow people to use farm produce, including watermelons and garlic, as down payments on new homes.

Home sales in China have fallen for 11 months in a row, and this week one of the biggest companies defaulted on their loans.

Last week, a real estate company in the eastern city of Wuxi said it would allow peaches to be used as down payments on homes, which could equate to a reduction of up to 188,888 yuan.

The Chinese yuan is equivalent to $28,218 or £23,289 and takes the form of a down payment on a home.

Another company in Nanjing, near the city, said it would accept up to 5,000 kg of watermelons from farmers. She estimates that the production is worth 100,000 yuan in Chinese currency—more than the local market.

However, the advertisement, which was meant to continue until next Friday, has been suspended, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.

“We have been told to delete all advertising posters on social media,” the newspaper quoted a company representative as saying without elaborating.

In May, the Central China Management Company conducted a 16-day campaign in which it accepted that garlic can be paid for in accordance with the preliminary payments from households in the Qi region of China, which is the main garlic-producing region.

“We are making it easier for farmers to buy houses,” the company said on WeChat.

According to the agreement, one piece of garlic, equivalent to about 600 g, is priced at five yuan of the Chinese currency, which is almost three times the market price.

The company said it has received 860,000 pieces of garlic under contract for 30 properties.

In the meantime, the company has removed an ad for a similar deal on wheat (top), which was introduced on WeChat last month. The reports asked the company about it, but it did not immediately respond.

Experts say such agreements are part of a way for companies to get around government regulations that limit the minimum size they are allowed to cut.

Official figures in May showed that sales of residential properties in China fell 41.7 percent from a year ago, the 11th consecutive month of decline.