58.com forms alliance as competition heats up

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 13, 2018
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China's classified online marketplace 58.com Inc has formed an alliance with several property service companies as the competition heats up.

Yao Jinbo, CEO of 58.com Inc, speaks at a press conference in Beijing on June 12. [Photo courtesy of 58.com Inc]

Yao Jinbo, CEO of 58.com Inc, speaks at a press conference in Beijing on June 12. [Photo courtesy of 58.com Inc]

Initiated by the NYSE-listed 58.com as well as brokerages including 5i5j, Centaline Property, and Century 21 China, the alliance vows to provide reliable property purchasing information and a superior service for home buyers and renters.

The alliance follows the move by leading home agent company Lianjia, or Homelink, which introduced a new comprehensive online platform in April, that threatens to squeeze 58.com's share of online real estate listings and launch itself further apart from other traditional offline property brokerages.

"Our platform has the most traffic in terms of page views for property listings and is the biggest online classified marketplace in terms of earnings for the real estate segment," said Yao Jinbo, the company's chairman and CEO. 

"I would like to ‘make friends' with you," he said to an audience including almost all Chinese leading property service companies, except Lianjia.

Yao said his company will launch a fund of 100 million yuan (around US$15.61 million) to ensure reliable home listings on its platforms from its partners. 

The alliance, however, seemed unlikely four months ago, when several leading home brokerages backed Lianjia to "defend" 58.com, who charge marketing fees to their agents to list on 58.com's platform.

Ye Bing, vice president of 58.com Inc, said the company is an open platform with a focus on improving information sharing and quality service.

58.com Inc serves 50,000 property brokerage firms and almost 90 percent of brokers (over 1.3 million) across the country. In addition, over 30 million people search for home listings on 58.com, Anjuke and Ganji.com, according to the company reports.

After 58.com acquired its former rivals Anjuke and Ganji.com in 2015, the real estate listings section has become a major source of the company's overall revenue. It not only provides property listings for potential home buyers and renters but also enables developers and home agents to market their properties online.

It has also introduced virtual reality (VR) technology which will enable estate agents to use its platform to record a short VR film of the listed home in only ten minutes and offer a better user experience for potential home buyers and renters.

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