Properties in the UK will now be available for sale to prospective online buyers in China, thanks to a deal between e-commerce giant JD.com and China’s largest real estate website Juwai.com.
Juwai has 2.2 million monthly users and showcases 2.8 million listings from 90 countries, but the arrangement means it can now market its offerings to nearly 300 million JD.com users.
International properties in the US, Australia, Canada and the UK are now be available for sale on JD.com, alongside household items, clothes, electronics, food, drink and even wedding dresses.
Customers can browse and view real estate listings directly on JD.com, and if they show an interest in a property a Juwai representative will contact them offering assistance and the opportunity to complete the purchase.
Carrie Law, chief executive of Juwai.com, said: “We are truly excited to be launching this partnership with JD.com, which is not just one of China’s but one of the globe’s most advanced commerce and e-commerce companies.
“This partnership with JD.com is incredibly innovative and exciting on one level, but on a deeper level it simply represents Juwai.com continuing to fulfil its core mission of helping Chinese become global residents and investors.”
She added that international property advertisers and strategic partners would benefit from the JD.com partnership because it provides a larger audience and a new platform for marketing their properties, building their brand names, and enlarging their transaction pipeline.
Xin Lijun, vice-president in charge of JD.com’s housing and life business, told the South China Morning Post that the new property arm represented a “one-stop” experience for homebuyers, encompassing other strands of the business such as supply chain capacity too.
China is the biggest e-commerce market in the world; consumers spent more than US$475 billion on e-commerce purchases in the first six months of 2017.
Juwai officials said advertising online ties in well with the shopping habits of Chinese consumers, who mainly use their phone or apps to buy property. However, mainland residents are still subject to a US$50,000-per-year currency exchange quota.
The first Australian properties to go on sale on JD.com will be apartments at a “resort-style development” at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, starting from $360,508 (AU$470,000).
Chinese homeowners and immigrants are an increasingly noticeable feature of many Western cities, especially in the English-speaking world.
The US, Australia, Canada and the UK are the top four choices for Chinese buyers of international property worth £1 million and up – they receive more Chinese interest than any other nationality.
DealMakerz reckons Chinese people’s growing interest in international real estate, coupled with their preferred mode of purchasing, will further increase the number of properties they buy in the UK and other English-speaking countries.
But it could cause further disputes in the UK, where the influx of Chinese capital into cities across the country has caused political division and led to criticisms of price inflation, as well as pushing full-time UK residents out of the housing market.