New international listings website for Chinese buyers launches

A new global online real estate marketplace jointly developed by China-based internet company Tencent and Chinese international property website Juwai.com, has gone live.

Haiwai.house.qq.com is expected to feature some 130,000 real estate listings from 65 countries. 

As previously reported in Mortgage Business, the new website aims to provide Chinese buyers with a comprehensive offering of overseas property listings, including those in Australia. 

First announced at Tencent’s annual regional summit in Beijing in December last year, the Tencent-Juwai.com partnership pools the resources of the world's largest internet company and China's primary international property website. 

Under the partnership, Juwai.com – which created the new channel – will provide customer service to the portal’s users, while Tencent will host the new site, allowing its 899 million subscribers to access real estate content from within its own extensive portfolio of online services. 

Consumers will receive phone and online support from Juwai.com’s Shanghai-based consumer care team. 

Listings and content from Juwai.com and its advertising customers will start to appear later this month across Tencent’s QQ instant messaging platform, which also features China’s equivalents of WhatsApp, Facebook, Spotify, Kindle and ApplePay.  The Tencent suite also includes WeChat, which will be populated with the fresh real estate content at a later stage. 

"International property advertisers have shown strong interest, especially those who are more sophisticated about the Chinese market and understand the size and quality of the potential audience on the QQ network,” said Juwai.com CEO Charles Pittar. 

"The biggest countries, in terms of number of listings in this first stage, are the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Thailand and Japan,” he added, noting that the channel will be promoted on all of Tencent QQ’s domestic property channels, with links and access points via an API into 38 Chinese city channels across the site. 

"Soon after, we will introduce enhanced mobile functionality, as well as value-added features online, including options for advertisers like Featured Property, Hot Property, new development features, and smart recommendation functions that assist consumers in their search activity online,” said Mr Pittar. 

Australia has been a prime property market for Chinese investors, which are attracted by the lifestyle and price of properties (compared to Beijing), particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. 

Last month, Credit Suisse noted that Chinese demand for Australian property will continue to grow and actually soften the blow of the “coming downturn”. 

“We find foreigners are currently buying the equivalent of 25 per cent of new supply in NSW and 16 per cent in Victoria,” the global investment bank said, noting that almost 80 per cent of foreign demand is from China.

“Chinese buyers continue to settle on their purchases despite the numerous impediments,” it said.

Local banks have tightened credit for foreign buyers while state governments in NSW and Victoria have introduced or increased taxes for overseas buyers of Australian real estate. Nevertheless, Credit Suisse forecasts Chinese demand for Australian housing will continue to grow, supported by Chinese wealth creation and attractive valuations compared to major Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

“While Australian housing is at peak cycle, we believe the pace and severity of the coming downturn will be cushioned by Chinese demand,” the report said. 

[Related: ‘Unsustainable property market’ will see major investment losses]

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Annie Kane

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