Going Online to Woo Chinese Buyers? Learn How to Get Past the Great Firewall of China

Online Chinese real estate buyers

The Internet is the best medium for corporations to enter new global markets. With no strings attached, it’s lightning fast, cheap and has an incredibly great reach, connecting the globe’s one part with another in real time. Real estate professionals are also using it to push uniform marketing messages to their audience worldwide, but when it comes to tapping into the China’s $20 billion worth of overseas property investment share; they end up rejigging their entire strategy. Reason: there is this Great Firewall of China standing in their way.
To reach out to nearly 63 million self-made Chinese entrepreneurs who have financial resources to purchase homes abroad, it’s very important for real estate professionals to understand how the Internet works in China.

1) Ensure your content is compatible
“If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in,” this was the ideology behind the launch of the Golden Shield Project commonly referred to as the Great Firewall of China in 2003. Real estate professionals need to keep this line in mind when chalking out their online marketing campaigns targeting Chinese buyers. This famous Firewall blocks content that comes from many globally popular applications like YouTube or Twitter. Even The New York Times is blocked before it can get to Chinese computers. Agents need to ensure that their content is compatible.

2) A website hosted on China-based server
It would be incorrect to say that Chinese internet users don’t browse popular websites like National Association of Realtors to gather information about US properties, but these websites hosted on US-based servers are painfully slow in China so much so that an image may take minutes to download. So instead of trying their patience, it’s better to host websites on China-based servers.

3) Listing properties on websites popular in China
There are several websites such as www.USARealestateOnline.com which specifically target Chinese property buyers of US real estate. Some of these websites allow an agent to make a sales pitch when a Chinese buyer posts an enquiry. Real estate professionals need to be very active on these websites to develop leads and turn them into loyal clients.

4) Bilingual websites
It would be hard to find a broker who doesn’t run a website, but if you are targeting Chinese buyers, your website in American English won’t serve the purpose.  Brokers need to understand that their prospective clients may not necessarily be fluent in English, so having a bilingual website or one specifically in Chinese languages like Mandarin may do wonders for your business.

Starting out, it may sound a bit overwhelming to grasp how the virtual world functions in China, but the benefits are so huge that real estate professionals just can’t turn a blind eye to it.

In the Media

South China Morning Post
Shanghai Times
Shanghai Office
Capital Weekly
The New York Times
Financial Times