Country Garden Turns to Tik Tok to Lift Sales


Chinese development giant Country Garden has turned to new-wave social media to drum up sales as prospective buyers stay away due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Country Garden, which has seen sales hampered by variety of factors weighing on the sector in China, will now use Tik Tok, an application downloaded more often than Facebook or its sister services, to connect with potential property buyers.

TikTok was launched as Douyin in China in September 2016 before hitting overseas markets a year later.

The app, which was downloaded 315 million times from January through March, now boasts 500 million users, making it the biggest social media platform since Snapchat.

Its main point of difference to rival social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it is fully reliant on artificial intelligence, meaning that users scroll through a feed that auto-plays videos suggested by AI algorithms.

Understanding the untapped potential, China's largest developer now intends to launch its biggest ever online property sales campaign through the cutting edge social media platform.

Country Garden plans to offer discounts of up to 50 per cent on property purchases during a two-hour variety show hosted by celebrities and pop singers on the social media platform.

The sales promotion includes coupons which can be redeemed against a property purchase as well as giveaways for free hotel stays, travel vouchers and home appliances.

The move comes following a recent pickup in sales activity across the country as more sales offices reopened after the nationwide shutdown.

Over recent weeks, many developers had offered discounts to boost sales and avert a liquidity crunch.

The shift to the live-streaming, and embracing new technologies like Tik Tok has payed off for companies including Evergrande, China's second-largest property developer.

The developer's live-stream in late-April captured 6 million viewers who purchased 7,000 home coupons.

Despite renewed activity, ratings agency Golden Credit Rating predicts a a 13.8 per cent drop in sales for the first half of the year, and 4.5 per cent for the year in total.

The country’s economy has also been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, shrinking by 6.8 per cent in the first three months of the year.

The Chinese government, which is pumping more liquidity into the economy and making business lending easier, is aiming to ward off mass job cuts.

New bank lending in China also rose to ¥2.85 trillion (A$620 billion) in March.

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