You may never have heard of it but ‘Golden Week’ could be turning into a sales opportunity for UK estate agents.
There are two Golden Weeks, or national holidays, each year in China, and the last one was last month (October 1 to 7).
According to the Chinese property portal Juwai.com, the number of searches by Chinese people looking for international property on the site was up 66% just before the holiday began.
Once Golden Week started, they shifted their online overseas property research from desktop and laptop computers to mobile devices, which suggests they were travelling while researching property. Mobile access to Juwai.com in the first two weeks of October was up 99% compared with the entire month of September.
More than half (60%) of Juwai.com’s users intend to buy international property within the next four to nine months, according to a survey by the website, and a popular destination is the UK.
Indeed, by the time we caught up with this story, EAT was told that Juwai had sent out over 4,000 email alerts on UK property to Chinese buyers last Saturday alone.
Andrew Taylor, Juwai.com CEO sales & marketing, said: “Wealthy Chinese take advantage of the unusual length of the Golden Week holiday to go abroad and scout or purchase property.
“Often the property hunt is accompanied by a school hunt, as Chinese parents typically invest in property in the same cities where their children attend school.”
Juwai has a partnership with Zoopla, and takes some listings from it that it thinks will be of interest to Chinese purchasers. Zoopla listings taken in this way are used with just one photo, at the bottom of search results on Juwai. Translated (by humans) into Chinese, they cost UK agents nothing.
However, you can upgrade at a cost of US $58 (for one listing, fully translated, 20 photos and premium placement).
So, what kind of UK properties are Chinese buyers interested in? We are told that mid- to high-end new developments in cities are popular, along with student accommodation, and buy-to-let properties where agents should indicate yields in their marketing.
Juwai, which was founded by a group of Australians, also tells us that the fact that all their property details are translated by humans is important. Apparently machine translation (eg, Google, Bing), does not work well and can come up with offensive terms.
Any agent wanting to tap into the Chinese market should also be aware of the ‘great fire wall of China’. Most sites from the UK are either blocked or have load times in China of over two minutes per page, so it’s common for users to get failure messages.
Juwai, hosted in China, says it can get round this problem. It also advises UK agents to emphasise the integrity and history of their company brand – something that Chinese buyers are very interested in. It’s key for them to do business with ethical, well-established agents.
Finally, we’re told that Chinese property buyers have plenty of money and a particular fondness for Britain.
Should you be interested, the next Golden Week is from February 9 to 15.