Achieving sales success in China
Over the past couple of years, Amity Property Group has forged a remarkable track record selling luxury apartments off-the-plan in China.
Below, Cindy Zhou – Amity Property Group’s General Manager of International Sales – talks about the steps taken and the strategies put in place that have enabled the group to achieve such strong results.
How has Amity approached the Chinese market?
We really started exploring the Chinese market about two years ago. In that time we’ve made a priority of showcasing our projects at LPS, Asia’s leading luxury property show, which takes place every four months on a revolving basis in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
These events showcase all types of luxury properties from around the world, and some you just have to see to believe. It certainly took my breath away when I saw one group selling a whole tropical island. It just goes to show how big the luxury market has grown in recent years and what some people are looking to purchase.
After presenting at LPS, we typically extend our stay by a week to conduct further meetings with prospective clients. These are with people we’ve met at LPS and those we’ve reached through other diversified marketing campaigns.
In conducting these campaigns, we have found WeChat to be very effective in contacting interested parties.
What are some of the challenges of using WeChat?
WeChat can take some getting used to, simply because there are so many different platforms on it. Therefore, to use it effectively you really need to understand which audiences are using which platforms. We’ve been slowly building up our presence on it as we’ve found the right channels.
There are two major advantages of using WeChat. Firstly, it is a multi-functional platform: it provides text messaging, voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video conferencing, and the ability to share photographs, videos, and locations. You can even pay with WeChat! Overall, I have certainly found it very beneficial for communicating with clients.
The second advantage, and it is a major one, is that everyone in China uses it. People check their WeChat all the time, so our overall experience of using it has proved very positive.
What information do you post on WeChat?
On our Amity channel we primarily post information pertinent to buying property in Australia. This includes information on Australian banking, interest rates, stamp duty, and of course Amity’s new and upcoming projects.
Secondly, we post information and articles that are not directly related to property, but are still of great interest to Chinese buyers, such as pieces on Australian immigration and visa requirements.
Thirdly, we post general interest articles about Melbourne and Australia because we’ve found that a lot of people in China simply love reading about our great country!
Such is the effectiveness of using WeChat that we now include a QR code on all our marketing collateral so people can scan it and start following us straight away.
Is there anything about Chinese investors that really stands out?
China is quite a different market. Right throughout the country’s history – from a few hundred years ago to a few thousand years ago – its people have always had a great appetite for investing. No matter what it is, they love saving and they love investing, especially buying property.
This is especially evident when you consider that a lot of our Chinese clients have never been to Australia but they’ve bought three or four properties here regardless. It’s amazing.
To fully understand the Chinese propensity for buying property overseas, it is also important to realise that in China families are only allowed to own two properties. Furthermore, the Chinese government have borrowing restrictions in place which means Chinese citizens can only borrow 30% of the value of their second property.
Overseas property is also highly sought-after because many Chinese people are planning to send their children overseas to study. As you can imagine, a city such as Melbourne that has numerous excellent schools and universities, is very attractive from that perspective.
How do Chinese and Australian properties compare?
We all know that Australian property can be very expensive, but what many Australians don’t realise is that Chinese property, especially apartments in their large cities, are on average, even more expensive. This of course, is a key reason why many Chinese like to purchase property overseas.
Another important differentiation between Australian and Chinese property is the length of time you own it. In Australia, you own a property until which time as you decide to sell it or pass on the title. In China on the other hand, the law states that you can only own a property for 70 years.
There are also important differences between the two countries when it comes to purchasing property. When purchasing an apartment off-the-plan in Australia, buyers only have to put down a 10% deposit, with the balance due when the apartment is complete. In China on the other hand, buyers have to pay the apartment off in full before construction has even started.
What do you enjoy most about visiting China?
I was born in Beijing and my family immigrated to Australian when I was 8-years old, so I’m very fortunate that I get to return to China on a regular basis and learn more about the Chinese culture and language.
As this is a truly dynamic time in China’s history, I’m able to get a real sense of just how quickly the country is changing.
This role has also enabled me to meet so many different people, which has had the added bonus of improving my written and verbal communications skills, which is most pleasing.
But the biggest thrill of my role is getting to travel extensively throughout China. Previously I would just visit Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but now I get to travel to smaller cities such as Hang Zhou, Wuxi, Cheng Du, Tian Jing and Su Zhou, which are all very exciting in their own way.
20 June 2017 News