In March, the CEO of JinList.com, Dr. Zhao, had a face-to-face dialogue with some real estate executives in Long Island, New York. Participants were actively engaged and showed genuine interest in connecting with Chinese buyers on both sides of the Great Firewall.
Here are the key takeaways based on questions about the state of Chinese investments in the US real estate market, what attracts Chinese investors, and how to connect with them:
Question: What is JinList.com? Why it is different?
Jin Zhao (JZ): Since 2003, China’s real estate boom has created a new middle class – one as expansive as 73 million people. Now, 83% of Chinese families own real estate assets. More than 40% own a second apartment. New apartments appreciated 39% in Shanghai and 42% in Beijing during 2016 alone. How do real estate professionals tap into this increasingly vast market? Where do we begin? That’s where JinList™ comes in.
JinList.com is a professional site dedicated to connecting real estate executives like everyone here with Chinese communities. We’ve created a powerful Internet ecosystem consisting of JinList.com and Jinti.com that serves Chinese communities locally in 435 cities throughout China every day. Jinti.com has attracted more than 12 million registered users and over 31 million monthly visitors.
Our user base consists of white collar professionals, senior executives, and business owners – high net worth Chinese who have expressed interest in investing in US real estate. Preservation of wealth, diversification, kids’ education, medical services, and environment are all big pull factors attracting high net worth Chinese to the US.
JinList™ understands these needs and connects with this market very well. Real estate professionals who work with us see tangible outcomes, not just traffic, from the Jinti™ ecosystem. That is why JinList™ is different.
Question: How do we use JinList.com to connect with Chinese buyers? Is there a fee for promoting my listings?
JZ: A great question. One of the greatest obstacles people tell us they face when reaching out to Chinese buyers is the language barrier. That’s why JinList™ is a bilingual site in both English and Simplified Chinese. We offer free and self-service postings that are easy to navigate. One condition is that your content meets JinList’s professional standards, otherwise, it may be delisted.
Yes, there are fees if you choose to get optimal exposure. JinList™ offers several service packages. They come in different levels of service and cost to fit your needs and budget. They range from single listing promotions to full professional and broker packages. Paid listings receive preferential exposure and are seen by a larger population of affluent buyers.
Question: Can we upload our individual profiles on JinList.com?
JZ: Yes, you can upload your own professional profile. We suggest publishing your areas of expertise and case studies of properties you sold that have appreciated in value. The more you write about yourself and your expertise, the more Chinese buyers get to know you and seek you out.
Question: What about company profiles? Can we upload information about my company?
JZ: Yes. JinList™ offers a different service for brokers, franchisors, and corporate offices to publish their own profiles.
Question: Do you participate in our sales commission?
JZ: No, your commission is fully yours. JinList™ is a cross-border digital marketing platform. Our purpose is to assist real estate professionals and help them succeed in winning new clients and getting exposure in Chinese communities. We do not participate in commission shares.
Question: What do the Chinese buyers or businesses care about when it comes to buying a property?
JZ: We’ve mentioned before that factors like environment and proximity to public transportation play important roles in attracting Chinese investors in real estate. From daily inquiries we receive on JinList™, I would say more than half are related to school districts.
The first priority for high net worth Chinese is school district - not only for their own children’s education but also for re-sale value of a property near schools. In Beijing or Shanghai, for instance, properties near good universities, elementary or high schools are sold at a high premium.
Second, we see high interest in proximity to public transportation. Convenience is essential; cities like Shanghai attract investors because their public transportation system takes you nearly everywhere.
The third consideration, proximity to Chinese restaurants, food, and grocery supplies, is just habit. Nevertheless, it is an important consideration.
Question: What impact will the government’s capital controls have on Chinese purchases of US real estate?
JZ: There is some impact, particularly on large commercial real estate transactions. However, the Internet ecosystem JinList™ is part of has already attracted an active group of users, who are buying, selling and renting out real estate assets on a daily basis. From what we see, there are ongoing transactions in this market sector. Also, keep in mind that some $1.7 trillion dollars flowed out of China in 2015 and 2016. Only a relatively small portion has been invested in overseas real estate. The remaining capital is somewhere in Europe, the US or Canada. We expect that the overseas capital will be looking for investment opportunities in US real estate.
Question: Do we need to watch for certain numbers, like No. 4 in our communication with Chinese?
JZ: If the features of a real estate property are attractive enough, the Chinese buyers may overlook numbers like 4 or 13.