Besides Chinese institutional investors, super-rich individuals and the fast-growing middle class are flocking abroad to buy overseas properties. Good quality education for their children, a second home with a better living environment and investment opportunities are the major driving forces.
Juwai, an online service offering Chinese customers information and services on overseas property purchases, has witnessed 100% growth in transactions for three consecutive years since the launch of the site, Simon Henry, co-founder of the site told us.
Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Juwai (“living in a foreign country”) wasn’t founded by Chinese but two Australians, Simon Henry and Andrew Taylor, though of the company’s eighty employees, only three are non-Chinese. With both founders having a real estate background, they bet Chinese would use their rapidly increasing spending power on overseas property.
Juwai provides its audience a Chinese-language website and Chinese customer support representatives, and an English site and services for real estate agents or brokers outside of China.
On the Chinese site there are real estate listings from overseas agents, and news and information by in-house Chinese writers and contributors. The company’s tech team have been improving their SEO for Baidu, the dominant search engine in China.
The company currently makes its revenue from advertising.
When asked about competition, Henry said he didn’t think they have a direct competitor at the moment. There are Chinese sites with similar business models being successful in the domestic market that are trying to expand overseas. Soufun, the leading property listings portal in China, is one of them. But Henry felt there was no way they could catch up with Juwai in terms of the number of listings and services tailored for overseas agents. He said that their core competencies are the overseas agents they have had on board and the customer services in Chinese and for Chinese customers, which were hard to replicate.
Juwai has developed mobile apps, having found that many users look for available properties when travelling abroad. Juwai have found that some Chinese living abroad are looking for properties in a third country. So they’re considering building an English-language site to enable an English-speaking audience who are in a similar situation.