How to effectively market your listings to Chinese Investors

We see weekly news reports of Chinese buyers cleaning up properties in major Australia cities. Everyone is talking about these “cashed-up” Chinese buyers acquiring apartments in bulk. But some agents and developers are asking the question, “Where can I find them? Why are they not buying from me?” Esther Yong from acproperty.com.au guides you through the mind of the chinese buyer and how to attract more attention to your listings.

If you are attempting to attract Chinese Investors, First and foremost, you must to establish trust with them. An analysis of the High-Net-Worth Individuals* in China found that 80% of them choose investment products that are of low/moderate risk. The key reason for them to invest in overseas properties is to diversifying risks rather than expecting higher investment return. Therefore majority of them only buy from a developer/an agent whose name sounds familiar. So, the first thing you need to think about is to create your Brand Name within the Chinese community. You could do this by advertising in Chinese newspaper, uploading your project to a Chinese website, setting up booths in property expos, the list goes on. At least some of these need to be done in order to set your foot into the Chinese market.

Now, the next question is, how do you advertise efficiently to make your Brand Name a “golden” one? Advertising to the Chinese market can be quite challenging mainly due to the language and culture. Lets discover this together:

1. Branding with an informative company profile.

A survey found that more than 70% Chinese investors choose their investment product by “Brand”.

We cannot emphasise any more on how important an informative company profile is to our agents and developers, because we have seen evidence from our traffic analysis on the impact of it. Companies with a good profile page have proven to receive more traffic as compare to those with a brief profile or none. Buyers who are unable to visit your office or are unable to see your branding around Australia can only judge you simply by looking at your company profile. A company’s effort to write a good company profile clearly demonstrates its commitment to the Chinese market.

What makes up an informative company profile? A typical remark made by a Chinese buyer in a study was: “Western companies are excellent at using their websites or company profile to tell you exactly what they offer, and how it can benefit you. They get straight to the point. Chinese companies tell you about their people, what industry they are in, their past experiences, then followed by what they offer and how it benefits the end-users.”

An attractive company profile to the Chinese is a professional yet intimate one. It tells tale about the background of people involved in the business and their past achievements. Excluding quality of product and services, which is a ‘given’, the need for companies to establish a personal relationship quickly with the buyer is important. The more personalised your company profile is, the easier for buyers to relate to you. Some buyers might not be familiar with the Australian market, apart from relying on family and friends for information, property agents will be the next most important people they would like to established a relationship with. A profile that is friendly and personalized will definitely help to trigger contact.

2. Start locally

Although the bigger market is in China, start locally first. If your brand is well established among Australian Chinese, it will be much easier for you to set foot overseas. Chinese investors are very savvy nowadays, they know that a lot of information are “made in China” and are skeptical about it. Start by associating yourself with local Chinese media, for example, Chinese papers, magazines or website. A more efficient way would be to advertise in a locally based Chinese property portal where both Australian Chinese and overseas China can access that information. More trust and credits will are directed to your company when overseas investors know that they are accessing the same information as locals.

3. When marketing overseas, cover those important cities, use online media to reach out to more clients.

Mainland China is too big to make your marketing campaign works. There are 660 cities in China while majority of your buyers will only come from around 10 major cities. Before you circle a city for your next property show or exhibition, make sure it is the right one that provides enough buyers. China is a developing country; the average people there with a monthly income less than AUD$500 will not buy your project.

IP Address records from ACproperty.com.au showed that majority of traffic from China comes mainly from:

  1. Shanghai (19%)*
  2. Nanjing , Shuzhou and Wuxi . (17%)*
  3. Guangzhou and Shengzheng. (11%)*
  4. Beijing (9%)*

This observation matches perfectly to the distribution of High-Net-Worth Individuals* in China. To create a presence in all these cities is almost impossible unless you have a really huge marketing budget. Thanks to  modern technology, 100% of your targeted buyers will be able to access the Internet. Online advertising would be the easiest and the least expensive way to create presence in Chinese market.

4. Don’t translate via machine

Most people do not realise the impact of good translation when advertising your properties and rely on machine translation to do the work. If a sentence is trying to express is: “Your master bedroom has a built-in-robe and a bathroom,” and it gets machine translated to Chinese and ends up saying “Your teacher has an empire’s robe and a bath room”, it doesn’t leave a good impression, just as bad spelling and grammar leave a bad impression on local buyers. Having your listings translated professionally is critical to ensure your company image. Machine translation is the easiest way to turn away your potential buyers.

5. Focus on ‘proximity’
If your development is in a suburb that is not popular among Chinese investors yet, try to find landmarks they are familiar with to relate to them. Example: 10 minutes drive to Box Hill Centro, walking distance to Monash University. Statistics from ACproperty.com.au shows that when “walking distance to Melbourne University” was added to the headline of a north Melbourne property; it had five times more clicks.

6. Consistent in information and pricing
Chinese investors are probably the most cynical investors in the property market. Before they sign the contract, they will use all their resources to get as much information as possible about the development. Most of the time, they share and discuss with their peer who has the similar buying powers. Consistent information is always great to ensure the trustworthiness of a company. Nowadays, Chinese investors are closely linked by through social networks, consistent in all your information and pricing is a key successful factor.

7. A unique set of social media

By now, everyone should know the impact of social medias. However, dealing with the Chinese means engaging a unique set of social medias. Facebook and Twitter have very limited impact in China; in fact, they are not accessible in China. The equivalent of those would be RenRen and Weibo, which are used by hundreds of millions users in China. If you have staff who are well versed in Chinese language, you should consider setting up an account in these Chinese social Medias. This might not bring you buyers immediately, but it is a good practice to subtly insert your brand name to their minds.

Over all, do note that, time is the most important factor. Like all of us, it takes a while for us to recognise or get comfortable with a particular branding. The Chinese market is already there, now all you need to do is to find a way to reach out to them successfully and efficiently. If all the abovementioned points are well executed, things should move pretty quickly for you.

* High-Net-Worth Individuals, HNWIs, who have at least RMB 10 million, approximate AUD 1.5 million, in investable assets.
* Based on more than 200,000 page loading records from ACproperty.com.au. A Melbourne-based Chinese property website which allows developers/agents to advertise in Chinese language.

Esther Yong is the co-founder of the first Australia based Chinese real estate advertising platform, ACproperty.com.au. ACproperty.com.au are a widely recognised choice by both established and boutique real estate agencies to market effectively to the Chinese buyers.

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Esther Yong

Esther Yong, co-founder of ACproperty.com.au, is a prominent opinion leader in Australia and an expert in property marketing to Chinese buyers. For more information visit acproperty.com.au