Chinese media outlet Liujiu Finance reported on Monday that many Lianjia stores in Beijing had assumed dual roles as package delivery and pick up stations for community group buying platform Meituan Youxuan. Lianjia is a popular Chinese real estate brokerage brand found throughout the country.
In addition to Lianjia, several real estate brokerage companies, such as Maitian Real Estate Agency and Centaline Property, had also cooperated with Meituan Youxuan. Real estate agency stores in communities are expanding their business and enhancing store traffic through community group buying.
One Lianjia manager said his store received quite a few orders after connecting to Meituan‘s community group buying business. The cooperation between Meituan and Lianjia has not been limited to a single store. Instead, the cooperation is at the company level, and the stores are the undertakers.
Maitian Real Estate Agency said that it is voluntary for some stores to access the community group buying feature, yet it is conducive for both sides to be strengthened by the traffic.
In response to the cooperation, people close to Meituan said that the group buying community business division was primarily working to strengthen the supply of livelihoods in Shanghai and it was not yet clear for which level of cooperation. “Only Beijing stores are currently involved. It is not yet the level of strategic cooperation,” said one person familiar with the matter. However, people close to the group said that the cooperation between the two sides is a win-win deal. One side has the advantage of a fresh supply chain while the other has the advantage of a large numbers of offline stores.
Back when community group buying was booming, platforms such as ChengXin YouXuan paid particular attention to the offline stores of real estate agents, which were located in the most densely populated residential areas and had geographical advantages. However, the cooperation between community group purchases and real estate agents ended up in a rather haphazard manner because the stores were not equipped with facilities such as refrigerators and freezers as community fresh food stores. Often, goods would be damaged and customers would complain.
The property market is running out of steam these days, but community group buying isn’t any hotter. Both industries are involved with community residents and are suffering the consequences of lack of demand. Industry analysts think that Meituan and Pinduoduo‘s community group buying should be tasked with livelihood preservation and social responsibility in the epidemic, rather than profitability.
For real estate agents, the cooling property market also has left agents in a poor position to do business. According to the latest earnings data from listed company KE Holdings, the adjusted net profit in 2021 was 2.29 billion yuan ($359.8 million), down nearly 60% from 5.72 billion yuan in the same period of 2020. In October last year, there were rumors of another staff restructuring. Insiders revealed that the optimization was mainly for front-line real estate agents, with a total of over 30,000 people being laid off.