The e-commerce arm of Kuaishou, TikTok’s rival in China, announced the establishment of a real estate business center by an internal letter in April this year, 36Kr reported Saturday. The individual in charge of the new center reports directly to Xiao Gu, the head of Kuaishou’s e-commerce unit.
The internal letter pointed out that “setting up a real estate business center is to meet the needs of Kuaishou users, help owners sell homes more efficiently, and explore a business model of large-scale product offline transactions in the Kuaishou ecosystem.”
According to company insiders, Kuaishou has started to research the real estate business since 2019. Last year, the e-commerce unit set up a special team to explore the real estate business model in live-streaming e-commerce, especially in second and third tier cities in China to avoid direct competition of leading real estate service platform KE Holdings. The real estate business center has set a goal of drawing out a feasible model and reaching the milestone of 10 billion yuan ($1.50 billion) in total turnover this year.
According to search results in the Kuaishou app, the page for the platform’s e-commerce real estate business is named “Kuaishou Ideal Home,” and the places covered include northern Chinese cities like Tianjin, Changchun, Dalian, Linyi and Shenyang. In addition, properties owned by major real estate developers such as Gemdale, Country Garden and Sunac have joined the program.
One of the livestreamers engaged in the sale of real estate on the platform revealed that Kuaishou e-commerce has transformed some real estate KOLs, agencies and consultants of property developers to official hosts. These hosts then started online livestreaming and offline apartment viewing. The official hosts can enjoy support including boosted traffic, subsidies and training, and can also get preferential treatment from developers through Kuaishou.
A real estate industry insider said that Kuaishou’s move was not surprising. The insider had seen the case of a host on the platform named Wang Beile, and thought it was natural for Kuaishou to step in the real estate field. According to public reports, in 2020 and 2021, Wang Beile sold about 1,000 apartments through Kuaishou every year, with a total turnover of 2 billion yuan ($300 million).