How to Sell Real Estate Properties to Chinese Investors
There are many traditional ways to advertise and sell real estate properties, also to foreign investors. If you’re interested in reaching Asia’s most wealthy in particular (you should be!!) an emerging channel to sell real estate properties to chinese investors might totally revolutionize your approach.
WeChat has become one of the biggest sensations in digital marketing in recent years.
So many businesses have been using WeChat in the past few years to access the most lucrative new market: Chinese consumers.
Since the app has become so widely used, WeChat has been capitalizing on their monopoly of the market by adding different features such as WeChat pay. Chinese users can purchase products online, pay for cabs etc. using WeChat.
So why would you possibly want to use WeChat to sell real estate, if it’s used in China only? To answer that question let’s look at a few figures:
- $33 billion – that’s how much Chinese buyers invested in commercial and residential property in 2016. By the way, it was a record high.
- 53% – represents an increase in the Chinese investment in commercial and residential property from 2015.
- $14.3 billion – that’s how much Chinese invested in the US only.
The most popular investment destinations for Chinese buyers were, in consecutive order, The United States, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and The United Kingdom.
Recently the app started to set international trends at the property markets as well. It is likely that you have already heard the amazing success stories of real estate agents who sold super-expensive, luxury properties via WeChat. And that is exactly the reason why you should check out this platform!
“It is just beginning”
According to Victor Li, director of international project marketing for the US real estate giant CBRE, only 3% of potential Chinese property investors have been reached by foreign real estate agencies. This demonstrates an enormous untapped market just waiting for you to access!
One of the main reasons why Chinese investors want to buy overseas properties is because of the devaluation of the Chinese currency, yuan. It is much safer for investors to buy and own a property in London or New York, then sit on a pile of cash.
So how to Sell Real Estate Properties to Chinese Investors?
There are few things that you need to research and master before and during promoting your real estate business on WeChat:
The biggest advantage of WeChat is that your account is highly customizable. Once you set up your business account make sure to design a quality micro-site that will be hosted within the WeChat app (you do this using HTM5).
This microsite can act as your e-brochure and a gallery to a showcase of your properties. Make sure to have some case studies ready, that demonstrate your values and skills, as well as showing other properties that you have sold.
You should also be demonstrating your values. Chinese investors need to understand and trust your business initiative before they can enter business with you.
2. Quality content
WeChat is a reading platform and low-quality content is the easiest way to lose users’ attention. While promoting your properties on WeChat (or in general in “Chinese web”) make sure to adjust the content to its readers; things that work in the West might not work in China.
3. WeChat ads
Once your microsite and content are on point you can start thinking about investing some money into WeChat ads. This will require some research that will allow you to target your niche only. You will need to get to know Chinese investors a little bit better but once you get it right, WeChat ads can become extremely profitable.
4. Collect testimonials
As with every product or service advertised on the Chinese market, it is important to collect testimonials from past Chinese customers in order to build trust in your brand. Remember that before the conversation with your potential customer’s starts, you need to build your reputation and visibility.
5. Customer Service
It is important to know that in China it is normal to talk about business via messaging platforms. While in Europe and in US formal and semi-formal business conversations take place over the phone or via email, Chinese like to talk business via messaging platforms like WeChat.
Have a look at this Forbes article; it is crucial to understand this cultural difference in order to smoothen the communication process!
Chinese customers will most probably ask you a lot of questions and they will expect you to answer them immediately. The sooner you answer those questions the less probable it is that you will lose your potential customer’s attention. Therefore, make sure to answer all the messages as soon as possible and have the answers ready. An alternative to that would be creating a chatbot which replies to messages instantly.
6. Post on Relevant Groups
WeChat offers you a possibility to join various interest groups (same as Facebook groups). Think about groups which Chinese investors would join and increase your visibility by posting valuable content there.
Key Opinion Leaders, which is a name for influencer marketing in China, can be found very useful while promoting almost any product or service.
There are certainly few ways KOLs could influence potential investors in the real estate business and even though leads from them might not convert, the visibility of your business among Chinese users would most certainly increase.
Zhihu and Xueqiu are the most popular platforms where millions of highly educated and wealthy Chinese investors spend most of their time there. Zhihu marketing helps you build awareness and trust on your property market and offerings, where Xueqiu triggers discussion and decision-making for Chinese investors. If you want to know more about how we can help you sell more properties, kindly send us a message here.
Success stories: selling to Chinese real estate buyers
The effectiveness of WeChat in real estate is proven by case studies like the one of Sam Guo, US real estate agent working for Ray White Broadbeach. In 2016 Sam Guo sold $11 million property via WeChat.
“We Chat was a revolution for the Chinese people,” Sam said. “It’s so easy and instant to communicate with buyers. The person who bought Summer House was told about it by their friend who saw it on my We Chat page.”
What’s even more shocking is how Sam managed to build his brand on WeChat. His profile became a reliable source of Gold Coast property for the Chinese.
There even was one case, where the buyer purchased a property in Australia without even viewing it. It’s worth noting that it was a $2 million property.
According to Ray White Broadbeach agency, Sam sold “$20 million worth of property via WeChat last financial year”.
But Sam Guo isn’t the only one who immensely succeeded because of WeChat. You can also read about Emma Hao who managed to close even bigger deals using WeChat as the main communication channel.
Consider other real estate marketing channels
Imagine that a potential customer is window shopping; WeChat is your “shop front” at which the window shopper is going to look while having a first glance at your offer. There are, however, other channels with which you can reach Chinese investors.
The Chinese equivalent of Google that shouldn’t be ignored by any business which targets Chinese customers. Stats show that 70% of all the searches are done via Baidu in China.
Therefore, aside from your micro-site on WeChat make sure to have a website translated into Chinese and using SEO (search engine optimisation) optimise it with Mandarin characters.
This will ensure that your website shows up in the natural searches. You can also advertise on Baidu in order to appear at the top of the searches and increase your visibility.
Also check out Baidu Tieba.
2. Chinese Property Forums
Many Chinese investors seek advice from others in the same profession, therefore property forums with substantial active communities could play a big part in your success on the Chinese market, especially once you get testimonials and reviews from existing customers.
If you’re just starting and don’t have any existing Chinese customers you can try to create traffic on your website and WeChat business page, by simply asking questions on forums and answering them yourself. Make sure to include relevant links in your answers in order to direct other forum users straight to your website!
One of the well-known websites that connect Chinese property buyers with estate agents is Juwai.
So, what does this all mean for your business?
I think the case studies above prove that you can sell the property via WeChat. It is possible and using the combination of WeChat and channels we mentioned you should be able to reach Chinese investors.
If you do it right, there is also a high probability that you will get their attention. The importance of WeChat in the case of real estate market is that it can be included in each of the main stages of marketing and sales process.
This is a major simplification but to close a basic deal you need to:
- Acquire a customer
- Provide your customer with all the info (WeChat customer service)
- Close the deal (sale)
Firstly, WeChat accompanies you as the advertising platform that allows to increase your visibility, create a brand image and a brand awareness (assuming that you haven’t operated on the Chinese market before). After that, you chat with potential buyers so WeChat is where the customer service is taking place.
The use of WeChat in the marketing and sales process might be surprising for Western real estate agents but considering how much undiscovered potential Chinese market holds, it’s definitely worth a try!
Dragon Social is a China Digital Marketing Agency dedicated to providing expert solutions to businesses around the world! Our team of professionals will take a deep dive into your business and determine the optimal channels and strategies for promoting your business in China, so be sure to Contact us for a free consultation!
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Thank you, interesting
Hello I have a Villa in Spain price 3.5 million I would like to market to the Chinese how does all this work please? I would prefer if I didn’t need to pay to advertise as am scared as I have been feuded so many time by company’s just taking the money and doing nothing. Information would be great.
I am a Luxury Property Specialist in the Seattle, WA USA area. I am bringing on an $8 million (US Dollar) listing next week and have been trying to figure out how best to target market to the Chinese market. Your article is uber valuable!! Thank you for helping me discern how best to reach out to the Asian population. Time to up my skill set and become a WeChat expert!
Anthony De Gennaro
Happy we could help! If you need any further advice feel free to shoot us an email and we’d be happy to help.
Hi, are you able to advise how we promote residential property in NZ and Australia to the Chinese buyer market?
Anthony De Gennaro
There’s a lot of ways to promote your listings in China. One of the easiest ways to get started is to use Juwai.com a platform specifically dedicated to listing overseas properties to Chinese investors. However, if you really want to get your properties in front of Chinese investors you should focus on a few different channels to ensure the right people see your listings. We usually use a combination of social media, listings, and search engine marketing to reach the right audience.
Hi Anthony, I’d like to chat with you about collaboration – I’m looking to sell a bunch of US properties. Thanks
Anthony De Gennaro
Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll have someone from our team reach asap. I deleted your email for you so you don’t get any unwanted emails as well =)
I have a student investment property in Toronto that i would like to sell. It will be completed July 2018 priced at 200k. Can u pls give me more info to best advertise this listing in China?
Thanks for your insight!
Anthony De Gennaro
If you are only listing one property it can be quite difficult. Marketing in China requires a bit of trust-building and it can be tough to accomplish with a limited marketing budget for only one property. In this case I’d look at Juwai.com to see what types of listing packages they offer for a single property like this.
sell my house for cash
thanks for sharing this post.its really helpful.we should follow these steps and easily invest our properties with chinese. really helpful one..
I would like some information if possible. I work for a company in Mexico, its a real estate and developer company
The company has many project that have been completed and sold out within a matter of months, We also have projects that are being built now , The majority of our clients are Americans and Canadians . I would be looking into tapping into the Chinese Market, Our Company Giada Real-estate and developers is the largest in the Playa Del Carmen and Tulum area, We have a 5 star rating from our clients as we offer a guaranteed return on their investment ,
Any help or suggestion would be greatly apricated
Anthony De Gennaro
Thanks for the comment. Sounds like you have a great business and some offerings that could certainly appeal to the Chinese market. For real estate developers, there’s a few ways to go about promoting in China. I’ll have one of our team get in touch with you to discuss some potential options. All the best!