Thanks to the country’s growing economy, Chinese consumers are becoming wealthier than ever. There are more than 57 million affluent Chinese and as the middle class is expected to reach 720 million in 2024, the number of Chinese property buyers is also growing.
In Chinese culture, it’s important to invest wealth in many assets and properties have the highest priority. As many Chinese live abroad, like to travel abroad, and want to send kids to overseas universities or emigrate for retirement, they look for properties in other countries.
In this blog post, we will examine the market trends and give you some tips on how to sell properties to Chinese investors.
Who are Chinese real estate investors?
If Chinese residents want to buy houses or hotels overseas, their behaviors are classified as an overseas investment but not overseas consumption. Overseas investment is strictly controlled in China. Domestic enterprises can invest overseas, such as building factories, mergers, and acquisitions, equity participation, or setting up subsidiaries. The procedures and operations of these businesses are clearly stipulated by law.
But for domestic residents, there are no other policies for overseas investment except those related to special purposes. The foreign exchange business that domestic residents can handle includes immigration, inheritance, transfer of business, and the newly launched participation in overseas listed companies.
There are three types of Chinese investors; those that live abroad and want to buy property there; those that are in China but are looking to buy property elsewhere and those that buy domestically. In this blog post, we focus on the first two types.
According to Bloomberg calculations, due to the fact that China’s GDP has grown dramatically in recent years, it is predicted that Chinese property buyers will be the leading group in terms of property acquisition by foreign investors.
Why do Chinese investors want to buy property abroad?
When it comes to the motivations for Chinese investors to buy real estate abroad, there are many different reasons, but the main ones include;
Data shows, that as much as 83% of Mainland Chinese (especially those from major cities like Beijing and Shanghai) wish that their children could receive overseas education. China’s education system is very competitive and it’s hard to get into the best universities. Those students that don’t, don’t have a chance to get the best jobs. But with foreign education, they stand out from the crowd, but they also learn languages and get to live in a different culture, which is something very unique.
Due to the prolonged zero-covid policy, lockdowns, and instability in economical development, many wealthy Chinese decide to move abroad, bringing their assets with them. In fact, in 2022, China occupied second place in the world when it comes to high-net-worth individuals, with an infamous number of 10,000 individuals leaving the country. The domestic real estate crisis is also adding up, making Chinese investors buy property overseas instead of in China.
More than half of high-net-worth individuals have either migrated or are planning to move abroad in the near future.
Wealthy Chinese with big money capital, either those that live abroad or those living in China, want to buy property as an investment. They purchase them either for rent or for themselves, planning to spend holidays there or purchasing them for retirement. According to Juwei, 61% of rich Chinese buys real estate abroad with the purpose of living there themselves.
Where do Chinese real estate buyers invest?
Despite some commercial hardships, the US continues to remain a key destination for Chinese investments. From April 2021 to March 2022, around 10% of total foreign investment in American residential real estate was attributed to Chinese investors who spent an estimated 6.1 billion dollars – especially concentrated on the Pacific Coast and with 40% already purchasing properties in California alone.
Nonetheless, it appears that there is a shift towards alternative countries such as Canada or Australia due to ongoing tensions between trade relations being weighed against potential profits from investing abroad.
Chinese regulations for buying real estate overseas
There are no regulations on investing and buying houses abroad. That is to say, the main restriction on Chinese investment in real estate abroad comes from the restriction on overseas investment, rather than the purchase of real estate itself.
Moreover, in recent years, China has seen tremendous volatility in overseas property investment. In a country with a population of 1.4 billion people, the market potential of overseas real estate investors in China is boundless.
In general, overseas investment returns are better than investing in China, so it is easy to understand why far-sighted companies are jumping out of investment opportunities.
How to reach out to Chinese real estate investors?
In order to really start selling real estate to China, it is important to have a very thorough understanding of buyers’ purchasing habits. Gaining insight into what they are looking for across the various marketing platforms used throughout China can be very helpful in helping developers to be successful in their conversion.
The key factor is that China’s answer is digital, with a net investment of 904 million people and an Internet penetration rate of 64.5%. Mobile internet users reached 896.9 million. The entire investor ecosystem is based on online activities.
Build a strong e-reputation
Large, reputable companies often think that they do not need to sell themselves in China, they are world-renowned and so they think that investors come to them. In fact, this logic in China does not work.
Digitalization in China is superior compared to the West. However, as we said China has its own Internet and platforms. No Google, but Baidu. No Facebook, but WeChat.
If you are not active on the Chinese platforms and you do not develop Chinese content, you will not appear in the Mandarin keyword search. This is a problem, even for big companies that attract large numbers of wealthy investors.
A real-estate website in Chinese for Baidu
No matter how strong your reputation is in the rest of the world, remember that when your company enters China, you have to restart from zero. All your positive reviews are inaccessible to Chinese people due to the “Great firewall”.
Therefore, building your own website in Chinese hosted in China is very important, so that potential investors can understand more about your company’s situation and the type of property you provide.
Writing content about your property on various Chinese platforms is recommended to help establish your visibility and credibility.
Remember that your website needs to be standardized for Chinese investors. They are used to convenience, which means they will expect to find all the necessary information needed on your page. Include videos, photos, descriptions, and a contact form, preferably also offering a chat function, where they can ask all the questions they might have. Remember about providing QR codes to all your other social media accounts like Wechat.
Why do you need to host your website in China? Because this is what Baidu will favor, and that’s how you will have a chance to rank high in Baidu search results. Baidu favors native websites hosted in China over foreign ones.
Backlinks and PR are great marketing tools in China
Include backlinks to your website to increase website traffic and to rank in the highest positions in search results. Backlinks & PR are still some of the most cost-efficient solutions when it comes to building your e-reputation in China and at the same time boosting your website ranking on Baidu. It helps to build Credibility and get more visibility.
Keep in mind that some overseas investors may not have the chance to see the property they are investing in. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a wide range of asset profiles with very concise details, so investors can understand better what they are getting.
The importance of online video in the real estate sector
Video is another great way to show what you’re providing and generate high-quality content. Videos, images, and your website should all be accessible from mobile phones because most Chinese use their mobile phone for all their web research. The above-suggested content can be sent directly to investors on a WeChat account.
Online video turns out to be one of the most used channels to satisfy the marketing strategies of companies and the simplest method for transmitting the information. Easier to consume than in-depth articles, they manage to capture the user’s attention thanks to short content. As these contents are immediate, they capture the user’s attention by facilitating the transmission of key information.
You can also offer live-streaming sessions, where (preferably) a real estate influencer will walk viewers around the property, showing all the amenities and answering viewers’ questions in real time.
Rank first for real estate on Baidu
After you create a strong Chinese website, you need to start to increase your visibility. Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, is the most important starting point. Statistics show that if you do not appear on the first search page, you may lose 65% of your potential internet traffic.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended to invest in search engine optimization in order to rank well on the home page. Find the right keywords to help you generate interest in potential customers and optimize your website. For a real SEO:
- Make sure the site has localized hosting and domain;
- Create ad hoc content in Chinese (simplified Chinese for Mainland China, traditional Chinese for Hong Kong and Taiwan);
- Do link building;
Consider SEM & PPC to get your first traffic
Cost-per-click and bid targeting, as well as constantly updating your landing pages while monitoring web traffic, are the keys to the success of Your First Search Page. Baidu ranks high in organic results, promoting the highest quality leads.
The Chinese website will be your “storefront desk” in China, and PPC is a great way of complementing the ongoing search engine optimization of real estate companies.
Baidu PPC is a great tool to use as the first step in your global marketing strategy. It gives you some credibility, if you can make Baidu ads, it means you are a real brand in the market and this brings your first visitors to your website. In the second step, it will work great combined with a good SEO strategy.
Answer questions on Zhihu and other forums in an undercover way
Zhihu is the biggest Chinese platform for questions and answers. Thanks to its artificial intelligence programs, it just has high-quality content. 80% of users are well educated (have a degree or more), 30% are well paid (they earn 10.000 RMB per month) and 40% of users live in first or second-level cities. Users are mainly men. This makes it the perfect platform to address more aged and rich consumers and the best solution for B2B marketing.
By answering questions related to investment, real estate, financial regulations, and more, you add value for the readers, improve search engine ranking, and have the possibility to direct readers to your website. It is a good tool to increase brand awareness and increase your conversion rate.
Apart from Zhihu, there are also other platforms, like Baidu Zhidao and Baidu Tieba, all giving you the possibility to gain good e-reputation by participating in users’ conversations.
Don’t start in China without a WeChat business account
When doing business in China, social media is very important. WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin (the Chinese version of Tik Tok) are the most popular Chinese social media platforms. Being active on these platforms and sharing engaging content will help you to reach millions of potential Chinese investors, not only from major cities but from all around.
Among them, WeChat is indispensable as it is the most popular one in China and one of the most popular apps in the world. It is advisable to become familiar with the internal operation of WeChat and its promotion methods.
By setting up an official WeChat account, you will have direct contact with your audience. It will allow potential investors to keep receiving updates about your company.
For example, info about any new properties you provide can be shared in your official account and users can see them instantly, without even going to your website.
You can also build a mini-program, that is like an interactive mini-website inside the app. There you can provide an H5 informative Brochure presenting your properties, with videos, interactive maps, you name it. Those brochures are really easy to share across groups in WeChat or in articles.
Reach out to Chinese real estate investors with Wechat Group Marketing
Then there are “WeChat Groups”, which focus on a specific area of interest and can have up to 500 people. Enter into these communities with exciting content to create interest. You can also consider creating your own WeChat Group.
Almost every website in China is accessible via QR code, so include your QR code on your WeChat account so that potential investors from your WeChat account can arrive on your website.
The highest ranking in Baidu is the best way to produce qualified results; WeChat is the first step toward conversion.
If you are looking for real estate investors in China, contact Gma, and rely on our experience
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency that is an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help your brand increase sales in China, thanks to our services like:
Over more than 10 years, we worked with many real estate developers, helping them reach out to Chinese investors. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed in the Chinese market.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a free consultation, where one of our experts will learn about your brand and present you with the best cost-effective solutions for your growth in the Chinese market. Let’s keep in touch!