Many major real estate agencies are aiming to target Chinese clients. While some agencies are opening offices in Asia, others are hiring Asian staff and listing properties on Mandarin or Cantonese websites. However, utilising digital platforms is by and large the most cost effective way to attract Chinese buyers. Digital platforms allow real estate agencies to not only target specific audiences, but also to more efficiently overcome language and cultural barriers with few additional costs.
Potential Chinese buyers fall into two groups: those still living in China and those already in Australia. Understandably, the best strategies and channels to target these groups vary. Chinese living in Australia typically look for properties in printed newspapers and magazines. For example, they will often consult newspapers like the Australia Chinese Daily and Sing Tao, or will look to separate property publications. Fortunately, some of these property publications are also distributed in large cities in China, so they can effectively target potential buyers in Australia and China.
Although they often utilise printed publications, Chinese buyers in Australia also look for properties online. Since most Australia-based Chinese speak English, listing properties on local Australian websites is a good method to reach this audience. However, it should not be the only method used. Social media is extremely popular among Chinese living in both Australia and China, and Chinese people are estimated to spend a total of 27.3 hours online every week.
WeChat is one of the most popular social media apps among the Chinese population, and it had a remarkable 468 million active users around the globe as of March 2015. WeChat allows people to communicate with each other, and follow accounts that interest them. There are many advantages for brands and businesses advertising on WeChat. One main benefit is that WeChat allows you to easily see how many people have viewed your ad and finds the best places for your ad to be located. Additionally, people can forward your ad to friends via this platform.
Attracting Chinese Buyers to your Website
In order to target Chinese people living in China, it is essential to have a Mandarin or Cantonese website. However, this is easier said than done. One of the biggest obstacles you may face is that not all websites are made available in China. Fortunately, there are many online tools to check if the Great Firewall of China is blocking your website. There are numerous reasons a website may be blocked, but it is most often related to the website’s content. If your website is blocked in China, you should review the content of your website for any sensitive material.
Once you have your Chinese website established, the next step is to make it easily findable on Baidu – China’s version of Google. To start with, you should buy a local Chinese domain – “.cn” or “.com.cn”. During the purchase of the domain name, make sure that the URL is written in Pinyin, not English. Pinyin is the official phonetic system for translating the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet. Writing in Pinyin will make Chinese visitors more trusting of your company.Additionally, if you have any video content on your website, remember that YouTube is forbidden in China. Therefore, you should use youku.com or tudou.com to upload your videos and to post them on your website.
When you develop a website for Chinese property buyers, you shouldn’t forget to make thinking about the purchase as simple as possible. One thing you can do is include a currency converter with the current exchange rate. Additional legal information will also be beneficial. You can create pages with Chinese content about getting mortgage in Australia, paying tax on the purchase, or a page with the list of necessary documents to make a purchase. You can also use your website to outline the visa conditions for international buyers and the government buying approval process.
Making all this information readily available is convenient for the buyer, and it is important to keep the information up to date when it changes. For example, Prime Minister Tony Abbot recently announced that new fees and fines for foreign property investors might soon be applied. The fees include charging foreign property buyers $5,000 for an apartment or a house valued under $1 million AUD, and charging $10,000 AUD for every $1 million AUD the property costs. Last but not least, it is important to think like your Chinese buyers. China is a country with a deep culture and many traditions that are not practised in Western society. Therefore, it can be useful to seek out the advice of consultants specialising in the Chinese market.