Asteroom Editorial
Real Estate Technology Battles between U.S. and China
3 lessons the US real estate industry can learn from China
Eric Tsai Apr 10, 2020

As the world approaches a more globalized module, businesses can learn a thing or two from their neighbors. Today, industries are able to take a deeper look at how the business is being approached by professionals in every corner of the world, helping to inspire and educate engaged professionals.

This method can be applied to real estate by juxtaposing how business gets done in the United States versus other hubs around the globe - specifically, China. If we observe China’s unique approach to real estate, we will realize that the US is actually 3-5 years behind - especially in the ways that China is utilizing technology.

In the past, real estate was known to be particularly slow in adopting new technologies.

However, that all changed when PropTech became a major force in driving competition within the multinational business arena. According to CRE Tech’s 2020 Emerging Trends Report, the 2017-2018 junction marked the point where real estate pros began to get serious about integrating new technology; stating that tech-centric innovations was a driving strategy in growing their bottom line and protecting themselves from competitors.

Since 2017, nearly 1,500 private PropTech development companies have received over $48 billion (USD) in funding from investors all around the world. In 2019 alone, the PropTech industry saw gains of $9.6 billion (USD) in venture gain capital with 53% of real estate companies making confident investments.

Today, real estate technology is a quintessential aspect of the business. While real estate tech is being employed by nearly all real estate professionals, China’s tech-forward approach is helping establish its real estate market as a leader in PropTech innovation.

China is Setting the Global Pace

Even domestic companies are wanting to become part of the fast-paced PropTech movement happening in China - and some are way ahead of the game.

The popular US real estate giant JLL has already made its move. In partnership with Swire Properties and Ping An Urban Tech, the US conglomerate created the nation’s first corporate accelerator program geared towards the real estate tech trends throughout China’s mainland.

This incubator project, called UrbanLab, is allowing United States real estate professionals to immerse themselves within the Chinese market for three months to observe, connect, and learn all that they can about cultivating success with technology.

According to JLL, the UrbanLab project’s main focus is on Chinese tech startups that specialize in automation, analytics, smart buildings, artificial intelligence (AI), facilities management, construction, tenant experience, customer engagement and sustainability - all big topics in the contemporary real estate scene.

JLL’s accelerator program is just one example of how US companies are looking to China for the answers. But, real estate pros don’t need to spend months overseas to adopt China’s PropTech-forward attitude. Instead, we can all pick up a thing or two by looking at China’s most prominent tech trends.

Here are 3 lessons the US real estate industry can learn from China

Smart City Developments are Skyrocketing

When the real estate market started slowing down, China turned to the power of Smart Cities. In 2019, the infrastructure was being laid in hundreds of mainland metros - transforming them into Smart Cities.

In China, Smart Cities are being employed to create a multi-billion dollar business surrounded by optimization, eco-efficiency, and top-tier amenities. Data shows that more than 6 billion dollars have been invested in China’s PropTech market throughout the last 7 years - and much of it is propelling a country-wide switch to Smart.

Pushing the Boundaries of PropTech

In China, PropTech isn’t just being used to help streamline property management or create tech-forward office spaces. Tech startups in China are exploring the unknowns of real estate technologies and looking for new ways to apply the PropTech module to improve the end-user experience, adapt to changing global paradigms, and promote sustainability.

One such example of China pushing the boundaries of Prop Tech is in the field of smart building integrations. Smart tech features are spreading like wildfire throughout China’s professional arena and PropTech is helping consolidate all of this power into a streamlined network of data, analytics, and connectivity. Several buildings in Shanghai are already forecasting and optimizing the amount of electricity and water each floor uses based on the number of people entering and leaving per day.

Virtual Tours are a Must for Marketing

Digital tours are spearheading the US real estate market. This technology is being used to enhance property marketing by accommodating remote buyers, creating a more convenient market search method, and generating gorgeous visual content for online websites and profiles.

However, not all real estate agents are using virtual tours for all of their property listings. This is due to the many challenges that virtual touring is known for: unaffordable, inconvenient, time-consuming, and an overall pain. But, is it because we’re approaching it all wrong?

Comparatively, virtual tours are the norm in China. Nearly every property listing has a digital tour option - not just the ultra-luxury and expensive properties. You’re probably wondering how they manage this when US real estate professionals have been struggling to balance VR touring for the past year.

The answer is in-depth data. In China, they’ve optimized their approach to digital tours by using 2.5D solutions instead of the common 3D standards that the US market chases after. When working with 2.5D tours, the entire process is streamlined. They’re less expensive, quick and easy to create without sacrificing quality.

Asteroom is a leading provider of 2.5D virtual dollhouse tours in the US, empowering real estate professionals to get ahead of their local competitors.

It’s clear that the US has a lot to learn from China’s advancements in real estate technologies. Keep an eye on the upcoming PropTech developments coming out of China - they might be the next ‘it’ thing to hit the domestic market.

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