Juwai.com, China’s largest international property portal, is seeing its second major leadership change as Carrie Law comes on board as CEO, replacing Charles Pittar, while Georg Chmiel takes the reins as chairman, succeeding outgoing chairman Richard Kuo.
The new pair of senior executives previously worked together at Malaysia’s iProperty, where they helped build up the ASX-listed owner of property portal websites and oversaw its acquisition by Australia’s REA Group.
Founded in 2011, Juwai is headquartered in Shanghai and Hong Kong and showcases 2.5 million property listings from 89 countries, receiving more than two million monthly visitors from Chinese-speaking customers. Australian co-founders Andrew Taylor and Simon Henry ran the company until January 2016, when they stepped down as co-CEOs to make way for former Macquarie Bank executive Charles Pittar.
Then this past January, Taylor and Henry sold their 20 percent stake in Juwai to existing investors, in a deal that was estimated to value the company at A$50 million ($37.8 million), according to a report. The ownership change was said to be in preparation for a listing on the stock market later this year.
REA Exec Takes the Helm as Juwai CEO
Law and Chmiel bring decades of combined experience in real estate and media to their new roles at Juwai. Law most recently served as senior international executive with Melbourne-based REA Group, which operates leading property portal websites including realestate.com.au. In her role at the ASX-listed firm, the Hong Kong native drove revenue growth and profitability with a clientele that included real estate heavyweights Henderson Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties.
Law had previously served as general manager at Malaysia-based iProperty Group, which REA acquired in February 2016 for A$750 million ($531 million). The advertising executive has over 20 years of experience with previous projects including NBA.com Greater China.
“Juwai.com is already the biggest Chinese international property portal and can be even more successful,” Law said in a statement on the new appointments last week. “I’d like to see Juwai.com provide even more value than it does today to both consumers and customers through the smart application of digital and mobile technology in the unique Chinese ecosystem.”
Chmiel Brings Online Property Expertise to Chairman Role
Chmiel, who has 17 years of experience in the online real estate industry, joined the board of directors of Juwai in June. Previously, Chmiel served as managing director of iProperty Group and stayed with the company though its integration into REA Group.
As chief financial officer and general manager international at REA Group from 2005 to 2010, Chmiel oversaw the growth of the company’s market cap from A$100 million to A$1.6 billion. The property veteran also worked at Australia-based international real estate franchise LJ Hooker from 2010 to 2015, holding the role of CEO and managing director from 2014. (Juwai co-founders Taylor and Henry also previously worked at both LJ Hooker and REA.)
“Juwai.com’s great strengths include its leading market position in China, the strength of its brand, and strong consumer and customer demand,” said Chmiel in the statement. “The latest data suggests Chinese buyers acquired AU$133.7 billion (US$101.4 billion) of international property last year, and that 2017 will rank among the top three years on record.”
Richard Kuo, the outgoing chairman, will remain on the board as a non-executive director.