Looking for property to rent or purchase online is easy. You find a place you want, you message the real estate agent, and you guys set up a meet to tour the property. However it seems that over in China, property purchases are dealt with in a very different way, and it relies on a rather unconventional platform in the form of messaging app WeChat.
Launched in 2011, WeChat serves as China’s messaging app where other social networks such as Facebook have been banned, and recently it seems that the app has turned into a platform where real estate agents in the US are selling pieces of property to Chinese nationals via the messaging app.
According to a real estate agent Emma Hao, “I’ll put up a floor plan and say that a new property is good on the blog and the location is great. Then people will say ‘I’m interested’ and buy. It’s really something else.” Jing Wang, another real estate agent, echoes Hao’s sentiments. “I would pay $100 a month to use WeChat. It would be much harder to be introduced and reach Chinese clients because many of the social websites, like Facebook, are blocked in China — that’s a lot of time and money.”
The app is used to send photos and videos, basically digital tours of the property, to prospective clients. Negotiations are also conducted entirely through the app. Basically everything save for the actual payments are done using WeChat. So far the app has expanded beyond being just a messaging app.
Last we heard, the app was planning on introducing personal loans and back in 2014, WeChat boasted a very impressive 355 million active users. Granted it isn’t quite the same as WhatsApp’s 900 million, but still pretty impressive all the same.