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.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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  1. It’s an interesting site. I know there are a lot of realtors out there that want to advertise to China but don’t necessarily have the funds to develop their own site and marketing channels. Makes sense to have a solution like Juwai.

    I wonder how realtors that list on Juwai deal with inquiries from China, because even if they can get the leads the Chinese consumer is quite different and often needs a lot more help with things like visas, education, investment immigration, etc.

    I think it would be cool if they had their pricing info for realtors available without logging in. I think their lower, simple pricing is a benefit for them and having pricing info up-front for products is usually a good choice.

    The only thing that puts me off about this site is the scare tactics about the firewall, which is really a lot less severe than they make it sound.

    1. The firewall is a huge issue if you want to browse foreign websites in China as load times are excessive, due to the censorship. That is if the site isn’t completed blocked already, like Facebook, YouTube etc.

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