Andrew Taylor: Two minute interview
What does it say on your business card?
(Laughs) Well, half of it is in Chinese. But the English half says that I’m co-CEO of Juwai.com – the number one property portal for Chinese buyers and western property marketeers.
Where are you based and how many people do you employ?
We have something more than 60 people on the staff right now. Our HQ is in Shanghai, we have an office in Hong Kong, and it seems like we’re always actually in some other country to talk with agents and other industry leaders. This week we are in London for the OPP Live event and some meetings.
What more can you tell me about Juwai.com?
Well, we are a Chinese-language property portal, and we are number one in the UK and around the globe. We have 2.5 million listings, a monthly audience of about 1.5 million and listings in 53 countries. Because we provide such a complete set of global listings, and tens of thousands of editorial articles and market reports, as well as a call centre for support, Juwai.com is often the first place a Chinese buyer goes when thinking about overseas investment. Our research shows us that as much as 50% of Chinese international property buyers start out not knowing where they ultimately want to invest.
Why locate in China, instead of in the UK or another country, where the agents are?
That’s a good question. You are right that agents and developers are our paying advertisers. So why not locate where they are? Well, because without the consumer, it doesn’t matter how close you are to the advertiser. And the simple truth is, if you want to create a website for Chinese consumers, you have to be in China. That’s because you have to understand what the consumer needs, you have to able to respond quickly to local competitive changes and you have to be hosted inside the Great Firewall of China. If you aren’t hosted in China, your website will load slowly, if at all, when a Chinese user tries to view it.
How did it all start?
It started when I was country manager for a Hong Kong and China, operated by the world’s biggest property portal company, the REA Group from Australia. My business partner and I saw the huge number of mainland Chinese looking to buy apartments in Hong Kong. Then we realised they weren’t just looking at Hong Kong, but also the UK, the US, Australia – all over the place. No one was helping them find property, and no one was helping agents overseas reach this fast-growing pool of new buyers. We created Juwai.com to step into the gap and help out both sides.
What are your three unique selling points?
We really just have one unique selling point. We’re number one. If you want to reach Chinese buyers, Juwai.com is the one to help you do that. If want to differentiate yourself from other agents by demonstrating that you market to China, Juwai.com is the one to help you with that, too. If you don’t care about either of these things, then we’re not for you.
How do you compete with Rightmove?
We don’t compete with Rightmove at all. Agents and developers have a toolkit of marketing tools they use. They have signage, print advertising, Rightmove and other domestic portals. And, for exposure to the Chinese market, they have Juwai.com.
Is the UK the top country for Chinese buyers?
The UK is in a very strong position and consistently growing in popularity with Chinese users, but the US is number one this year. The UK comes third, after Australia and before Canada and Singapore. To be clear, this is with Chinese individual international property investors, not institutional or big corporate investors.