It’s only in recent times that Chinese peasants have been allowed to mortgage, lease or sell their rights to agricultural land or land occupied by their homes. Taking advantage of the easing of these restrictions, Tuliu.com (“land transfer” in Chinese), providing information and web & mobile applications for trading or leasing rural land, is one of the first of its kind in mainland China.
As with other real estate websites, on Tuliu land rights holders as well as agents and brokers can post listings. Buyers can search for land by city or category, or submit their requests. But when it comes to trading, Chinese peasants must still depend on agencies like Tuliu, as the new rural land transfer policies initiated by the Chinese authorities are complicated.
The site also provides real-time analytics reports about the market and other related services such as legal consulting.
Its mobile app is able to measure land area as a user walks along its perimeter, and to evaluate land values via data the site has collected over the past years. The company recently launched a separate app for area measurement.
Tuliu charges 3-5% commission on sales, and additional fees for some services. As it’s currently unlikely land purchasers would pay online, Tuliu has set up offline stores, similar to regular property agencies, to arrange the transactions.
The site allows third parties to set up such stores, providing office management software to franchisees and taking 50% of the income made by them, the China Economic Times reports. There are 110 such stores across China, according to Tuliu.
The site has begun expanding into other categories, such as urban commercial property and land overseas. The venture capital investment arm of Chinese internet company Shanda has invested RMB50 million (about US$8 million) into the company, according to Tuliu.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)