Juwai.com, an online platform for marketing global properties to Chinese buyers, is merging with Kuala Lumpur-based real estate marketing firm IQI Global, according to a joint announcement by the two privately-held firms.
The merger, which comes at the same time that Juwai’s CEO Carrie Law is currently on vacation leave, is aimed at creating an expanded property advertising and market platform to serve Greater Asia, as announced by the two firms. Sources at Juwai told Mingtiandi that Law plans to leave the firm in September after helming the firm for the past two years.
Merged Marketing Firm Targets Fresh Cash
The 50:50 merger, expected to be completed in August, will see IQI Global contribute an unspecified amount of profits to the partnership with the two companies working to raise fresh cash before integrating the businesses.
Should the merger provide productive, the merged firm hopes to conduct a subsequent funding round at a higher valuation, according to a source who has spoken to Mingtiandi on condition of anonymity.
The new group, Juwai-IQI, will continue to operate under the two separate brands: Juwai.com for online advertising and media services and IQI Global for project marketing, sales of property developments, and secondary market properties, according to the companies’ joint statement.
Creating a Pan-Asian Sales Platform
Founded by Australian duo Andrew Taylor and Simon Henry in 2011, Hong Kong-headquartered Juwai.com helps developers and brokers target Chinese buyers looking for global properties. By joining with IQI Global, Juwai is extending its original vision from Chinese buyers to all Asian buyers, said Georg Chmiel, the platform’s executive chair, in a briefing to its investors.
“Our clients (agents, developers) will now not only get ‘exposure to China’ but get access to….(an) Asian project marketing business, aiming to ‘sell properties across Asia,’” Chmiel added.
Eight-year old Juwai claims 3.3 million Chinese speaking monthly users and 2.8 million listings from 91 countries, while IQI Global, with its real estate operations across Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, boasts a regional sales team of 5,000 people that closed on $630 million in sales of new property in 2018.
Juwai-IQI noted in its statement that real estate developers will benefit from the integration of the companies’ online marketing and offline sales functions as the partnership fuses Juwai’s ability to generate buyer interest with IQIs ability to close transactions through its in-house sales team.
Chmiel said that the new group plans to further expand through “organic growth and new partnerships in addition to the existing relationships,” which includes companies such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and JD.com.
Merger Creates New Chapter for Juwai
In early 2016, with Juwai riding record levels of outbound real estate purchases by mainland Chinese investors, then CEO and former Macquarie Bank executive Charles Pittar, had announced plans for an initial public offering in Australia later that year.
Pittar was replaced by Law, previously an executive with Malaysian real estate website iProperty in 2017 after Juwai’s sales struggles scuttled the plans for an initial public offering. Law, who has facilitated the merger with IQI Global, is currently on personal leave and said to be formally stepping down from her role as the CEO of Juwai.com from September.
Headquartered in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Juwai had seen its Australian co-founders Andrew Taylor and Simon Henry step down as co-CEOs in January 2016 to make way for Pittar.