Skirting the great firewall of China

An Aussie firm has signed a partnership with Chinese-based real estate portal E-House to promote Australian local listings throughout China.

The deal also provides access for Australian property listings to an 80-million strong Property Buyers Club in China.

Australia-based ConnectMyProperty has the exclusive rights to operate the Australian section of E-House’s portal SINA Haiwai.

Members of SINA Haiwai Real Estate have recently been around the country checking out premier properties and developments.

ConnectMYProperty director Preston Richardson said the deal allows them to act as a marketing company of Australian properties being sold specifically to the Chinese market, with specific processes in place to legally skirt China’s strict internet laws.

Mr Richardson said, historically, property sales overseas from China have not been well organised, with very few representatives in Australia until recently.

He believes Chinese investment was typically done through friends and small agencies and a lot of Chinese investors prefer to buy through a 'buyer’s club'.

“We have partners and offices in China and Shanghai and a program there to manage censorship and give quality assurance as well as people on the ground to ease getting around the firewall,” Mr Richardson said.

“We are publishing in Chinese so people understand and it is certainly becoming a solid platform to handle investment from China; it’s fantastic for the construction industry as the investment can protect the domestic industry from a bubble.

“The Chinese are not interested in what first home buyers are buying – they are more interested in the medium to high price bracket and new apartments… all of our employees are aware of the Foreign Investment Review Board rules and we work to that.”

Mr Richardson said often investors from overseas may not have been aware of the legalities and gone back ‘home’ to another country without buying property due to lack of knowledge.

Sina Haiwai Real Estate general manager Irene Zheng said the organisation had been looking for an independent partner in Australia to bridge the language, cultural and regulatory gap.

“We’ve always viewed Australia as an attractive place to do business given it is the 12th largest economy globally, it is in close proximity to China, and has a transparent and well-regulated business environment that is the envy of many countries around the world,” she said.

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