Profiting from the 'war on pollution'
Sanya's clean air is making it an increasingly popular destination for tourists, part-time residents and investors from across mainland China, as pollution becomes more of a concern.
"Sanya is really the one city that is consistently clean whenever I look at the air quality maps," says Steven McCord, from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
"Therefore, refuge from pollution is a great additional selling point for Sanya [and] for people who want a vacation home."
According to the mainland's Ministry of Environmental Protection, just nine out of 161 monitored cities actually meet the country's new air quality standards, and Sanya is at the top of this list.
The horrendous air quality and toxic environments of many cities have created huge demand for places with clearer skies and a more pristine ecology. Cities that can boast these attributes are now at a big advantage.
"I think people move to Sanya and set up new businesses to benefit from the cleaner environment," says Caddie Lu, the owner of Sunny Sanya, a Sanya-based travel agency.
Andy Pei from Horizon Travel echoed this by saying: "People from other places come to Sanya for two reasons: one is because of its fresh air, and the other is because of the all-year-round warm weather."
In pursuit of warmer weather, sun and clearer skies, more than 300,000 people from all over China spend each winter in Sanya. Many seasonal residents own second homes in the city, which is stimulating the local real estate market. A property agent from Verdure International Holdings claimed in a Bloomberg report that over 80 per cent of his clients in 2013 purchased houses in Sanya because of the air quality.
"My educated guess would be they [clean air cities] are more attractive," says Daan Roggeveen, the founder of MORE Architecture, "but not yet to the extent that they beat Shanghai or Beijing. They could, however, become China's Portland or Austin - cities that are smaller, with a higher quality of life and are therefore highly attractive."
As China's leaders have declared a "war on pollution" and the consciousness of the general public about the health hazards of smog increases, clean-air cities such as Sanya will become more attractive refuges for businesses and residents.