Earlier this year, I was interviewed by my colleague Melanie Hoole on the Power of WeChat for Real Estate Agents. Melanie is an incredibly talented marketer and founder of her own agency Hoole, which specialises in helping individuals, companies and brands in the Real Estate industry to realise their full potential, through product, marketing and digital strategies.

We often get asked if we can assist with other digital marketing strategies alongside WeChat, and I always refer clients to have a chat with Melanie and her team. This interview was filmed as part of a wider series on digital insights for the real estate industry. To view the rest of the series, sign up here.

In the interview, Melanie and I discuss how and why I started WeTools, why WeChat is so powerful for Real Estate Agents, and why they should target WeChat users, and the difference between offshore and local Chinese buyers.

Watch the video here:

Here are some of the key insights from the interview. If you would like to read the full transcript, you can click here to read it on Melanie’s Blog.

Why I Founded WeTools

WeTools was started from my own experience trying to market property to Chinese. In a previous role I was part of a Marketing team responsible for marketing property developments via a network of Chinese Real Estate agents. I was constantly being asked “Can you send me that on WeChat? Is the property on WeChat? Can I share the home to my buyers on WeChat?”

I started researching and discovered that WeChat was one of the biggest social media apps in the world, but it was very difficult to get started.

How WeChat has opened up to Overseas businesses

A couple of years ago, international businesses weren’t actually allowed to have a WeChat account. To get an account you either had to have a joint venture with a Chinese business or enough clients to warrant setting up a business in China yourself.

Over time the process has gotten much easier, and today WeChat is open to businesses all around the world. But there is still a big learning curve to running an account – from needing content to be translated, to using a Chinese admin interface and understanding the technical ins and outs of WeChat – which are many and varied.

Once we’d overcome these first set of hurdles, we were able to launch our first property campaign and to our amazement, we sold off the plan units for entirely new development through WeChat – so we were pretty blown away and knew that we were on to something.

Why Real Estate Agents should target Chinese Buyers

If your local area (or property portfolio) has a strong Chinese buyer demographic, you need to ask yourself – do I want to focus on that audience and run a tailored strategy to reach them? If so, WeChat is the way to do it.

The Chinese market are a strong demographic for the Real Estate industry and very lucrative to tap into. When compared to other migrant populations who historically move countries in search of better jobs, with the Chinese it is often driven by the wealthy middle to upper classes who are looking for a great lifestyle, fresh air, and educational opportunities. 

They are arriving in Australia with a lot of money to hand. And even though they can bring things with them they can’t bring a house! So they are looking for homes – in particular, high-value homes.

In recent years we’ve had six hundred and sixty thousand visitors coming to Australia from China every year. With 27,000 of them migrating to Australia permanently. That’s a huge market. 

However, it’s important to remember that WeChat is a long term strategy. Much like a blog, Instagram or Facebook, you need to keep adding content to build and grow your audience on the platform – there are no shortcuts, it has to be a long-term strategy for you. 

The difference between offshore Chinese buyers and local Chinese

There is a significant Chinese community already living in countries like the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. While using WeChat is less about access for these groups, it’s still really popular in the Chinese community as it is the app they are used to, and they use it to communicate with their friends, families and business associates in China. Many local Chinese may not ever get a Facebook account, because WeChat is so integrated in their community.

Offshore buyers based in China look to invest overseas, particularly in countries where the economy is seen as a lot more stable than in China. Property can also a lot more affordable than what is available in crowded top-tier cities like Shanghai or Beijing. For example, 40 square meter apartment in Shanghai could be the same price as a 4 bedroom home in Sydney.  

 

Are you interested in launching a WeChat strategy for your Real Estate business? You can contact us at any time for a no obligation chat about how WeChat could work for you. If you’re keen to get started, you can watch a demo of how WeTools works here, or create an account here!