Cinda Real Estate, a state owned property developer, on Jun 1 paid the highest premium so far this year of about 37,000 yuan per square meter for a 106,400-square-meter residential plot in Shanghai’s Baoshan District, outbidding 20 rival bidders on a premium of 303% over the auction reserve.

Unexpectedly, this transaction failed to entitle Shanghai China’s land king, since plots in Shenzhen’s Longhua District and Beijing’s Haidian District were then respectively auctioned for 57,000 yuan and 30,200 yuan per square meter on the next day, with the former parcel hitting a new high.

Developers have been competing for land amid mainland China’s property recovery, pushing up land prices to record high levels alongside a sharp decrease in inventories among first-tier cities.

According to Centaline Property, state-owned enterprises constitute the main force in this new round of scrambling for lands epitomized by Cinda Real Estate. As a subsidiary of Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd (directly under the Ministry of Finance), Cinda Real Estate has won six land parcels in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei for an overall 35.2-billion-yuan.

Statistics showed that 52 out of 105 land parcels auctioned in high prices from early 2016 as of May 31 were taken by state-owned enterprises, accounting for 54% of the total transactions. Compared to private enterprises, state-owned enterprises are able to access large sums of low-cost funds.

Furthermore, Cinda Real Estate paid high premium for the parcels because its parent company has prioritized asset allocation rather than gaining profits, said analysts at the CRIC Research Center.