Bricks and Mortar

Mainland Chinese developers resort to offbeat marketing strategies

Foshan developer offers rice 'blessings' to woo buyers amid industry slowdown

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2014, 9:23am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2014, 9:23am

A sales manager at Foshan-based developer Xing Xing Property, Yao Huiqing, has built up a stockpile of small packs of uncooked rice in the sales office of the company's Kaixuan International residential development.

She delivers them as gifts to potential buyers who have not yet made up their minds on whether to buy a home, given the wide range of properties for sale in the city.

"Having rice in Cantonese slang means rich," Yao said.

Instead of resorting to price-cutting, she hopes her blessing will impress buyers and encourage them to sign a contract to buy a flat at Kaixuan International, a 700,000 sq metre residential development in the city's Chancheng district.

Foshan comprises five districts, including Chancheng.

Like other mainland property firms, developers in Foshan have come up with innovative and offbeat marketing strategies to attract buyers, rather than getting into a price war with competitors that would trim profit margins.

Foshan is facing an oversupply of residential apartments. The annual supply of new flats in the city will reach 13 million sq metres this year, against expected transaction volume of 9 million sq metres, according to Yu Hong, the managing director of Centaline Property Agency's Foshan branch.

Not far away from Xing Xing's development, Hong Kong developer Shui On Land is selling flats at the Metropolis and Park Royale, both part of its massive Lingnan Tiandi residential and commercial development that will provide a gross floor area of 1.5 million sq metres.

It is the only development in Foshan awarded the international LEED Gold building certification. In the show flat, the developer highlights the quality of the project, including its energy-saving and environmental protection features.

Yu said buyers had returned to the market since August after the city government relaxed home purchase restrictions. Sentiment further improved when the central government relaxed mortgage lending and cut interest rates.

He said he did not expect developers to slash prices to boost sales, despite the abundant supply, unless sales volumes fell significantly.