How to maximise project outreach with Chinese investors in five steps

06 Sep 2021
Indonesia , Malaysia , Singapore , Thailand , Vietnam

Purchasing and marketing foreign property can be demanding for developers in China who don’t know the lay of the land.

A high degree of knowledge is necessary to market foreign real estate to Chinese citizens. Developers need to address various concerns from buyers around cross-border pricing, regulations, taxes, investment return details, and cultural differences regarding the properties they sell.

Developers also need to manage relationships with potential buyers, who need plenty of reassurance before they commit to investing in big-ticket foreign properties. Aside from requiring an exhaustive amount of information on the property, they also need to feel a sense of personal confidence in the seller.

And that’s not to mention the cultural divide: the ins and outs of communicating on WeChat (and the sales etiquette linked to it), along with the outsize role of key opinion leaders (KOLs), among other things, they can make even the most experienced developers feel out of their depth.

These factors demonstrate that real estate developers need to fine-tune their strategy and approach for selling to Chinese buyers. With the rise of affluent households in China signaling a continuing resilience of Chinese capital against external fluctuations, developers cannot afford to wait–or waste their efforts on culturally disconnected, foreign-sounding sales channels.

To successfully sell their properties to prospects in China, developers must curate a uniquely localised customer journey: one that takes advantage of local channels, creating omnichannel brand visibility in China-based online platforms that leads to higher consumer validation and better conversion. To get started, follow the five-step strategy we’ve laid out below.  


1. Build awareness through the right presence

It’s not that difficult to build brand awareness in the China market. You simply need to have a presence where potential customers are actively looking for products like yours.

For real estate outside of the country, most Chinese buyers are browsing the Anjuke Foreign Properties Page. Anjuke is China’s top real estate platform, with 10 million total monthly visits from China-based viewers; it is also a strategic partner of PropertyGuru China Solutions.. Posting on Anjuke is the first step to cracking the China awareness problem.

We build our clients a “Brand Zone” in Anjuke covering individual listings; this can serve as your entry point into Chinese buyers’ awareness. The Brand Zone consists of a dedicated Corporate Profile page that introduces your brand to Chinese readers; a Project Listing page that explains what projects you’re selling and provides key information on each project; and a call-to-action button.

The platform’s AI-powered customer profiling can boost your exposure to the right buyers. The brand zone then communicates the key selling points of your property at a glance, and provides a touchpoint in case the buyer wants to reach out via WeChat.


2. Use influencers to bridge the trust gap

Chinese society has a low level of social trust, preferring personal connections (guanxi) over impersonal approaches from strangers. Buyers in China generally distrust sellers, so developers need to work harder to overcome the market’s natural distrust. Consumers will only seek out sellers that they feel are safe and trustworthy, and seek out third-party opinions that can reassure them about their purchases.

Third-party marketplaces and recommendations from KOLs (key opinion leaders) offer sellers a way to bridge the trust gap. KOLs can communicate the other, persuasive aspects of your property that don’t often get talked about on a brochure: the affluence of the location, the nearby points of interest, and the feel of the community, in the prospect’s own language.

These KOLs have a significant presence on WeChat—an all-around communication app that is also one of China’s most powerful tools for real estate. With PropertyGuru’s China Solutions help, real estate developers can raise brand awareness through WeChat content marketing and powerful WeChat-based influencers with large follower bases—helping generate project leads using a personal touch.


3. Video helps build credibility

After seeing your content on Anjuke and hearing WeChat reviews from KOLs, Chinese buyers need an additional reference point to check back on.  They expect to see video tours of potential properties: seeing their prospective purchases in colour and vibrant motion can be far more persuasive than plain-text descriptions or still photos.

Chinese buyers are also avid video consumers, regardless of social status. Time spent watching music videos, dramas and other online video content far outpaces any other online engagement. To create a true omnichannel presence in China, establishing a brand presence in iQIYI is absolutely essential. iQIYI is a key video streaming app in China, often described as “Netflix meets Youtube”.

With over 500 million monthly active users and 5.7 billion hours of viewership time, iQIYI is China’s undisputed leader in the domestic video streaming industry: a perfect place to showcase your product and increase your reach.

Developers can leverage PropertyGuru’s domain expert knowledge of iQIYI’s precise targeting mechanics to put their marketing material to the right audience, in a variety of formats (preroll ads, native video, postfilm ads, and pause ads).


4. Educate young Chinese urban dwellers about your brand

Marketing your project and company to the right target audience can be child’s play if you’re on Douyin.

If you’ve seen TikTok, you know what Douyin is—they’re from the same company, though the latter focuses on China-based users and has completely separate content, with no interaction between the two. Douyin is an app centered on short videos, whose 600 million daily active users are a receptive audience for your brand. Most Douyin users are from tier 1 and tier 2 cities in China, the country’s most developed metropolitan regions.

PropertyGuru China Solutions team can create and curate your presence in Douyin, creating property ads for Douyin’s China-based market. Your presence on Douyin will enhance your multichannel profile among young urban would-be buyers, and educate them about your product in ways that complement your presence elsewhere.


5. Count on pull marketing to seal the deal

As your “push” marketing efforts do the heavy lifting, use “pull” marketing methods to further improve conversion and conversation opportunities for your brand. PropertyGuru China Solutions recommends setting up pre-roll ads on Youku, Alibaba’s signature video hosting service.

Brands can benefit from Alibaba’s data capabilities: the company can mine users’ real content needs based on AI/big data, and serve marketing messages to match. And Alibaba Entertainment Moku Lab (Alibaba’s R&D for entertainment intelligence) ensures brands have early access to compelling and cutting-edge media experiences.


Building a trusted presence in the Chinese internet space

China is a different market, but it doesn’t have to be a foreign one for foreign developers. PropertyGuru China Solutions can help you bridge the cultural gap between Chinese buyers and your brand. Use our full-fledged marketing solutions to build trust, credibility and generate leads within the Chinese internet space.

With our help, an intimate understanding of the China market can be achieved easily. Using the right know-how, you can post marketing content with high conversion rates almost effortlessly—you just need to know what tools to use, and where to make your presence felt. 

Wondering how PropertyGuru China Solutions can help demystify the China market? Check out video below. Contact us to know more about our brand engagement solutions today!