Who’s doing what with proptech in Asia?
PROPTECH companies typically tend to explain their role as facilitators of transactions in the property market, bringing in transparency, clarity, and simplicity.
However, that’s not all that proptech companies can do. Through their unique role in the property market, proptech companies can make a difference to how cities operate – and contribute to the development of smart cities.
In an exclusive interview with Tech Wire Asia, Re-Imagining Cities Foundation Co-founder & Chair Chungha Cha explained what these new-age companies can do, and shed some light on which Asian countries are supporting them the most.
“Proptech is a powerful enabler to monitor, measure, analyze, and improve what is important to us,” said Cha who sees the segment as one that can facilitate smarter, greener, and sustainable developments.
Through the use of big data platforms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and analytics, she hopes proptech firms will be able to improve the quality of life, create efficiencies, improve sustainability, and create jobs for local economies.
Small pilot examples can be seen in smart city initiatives all over the world, such as in Singapore, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Vancouver.
“What’s really exciting about PropTech is that it can be applied in the existing building stock as well as new developments,” said Cha.
There is tremendous interest to owners of large real estate portfolios such as real estate funds and insurance companies to embrace technology in order to improve the performance of their real estate assets and, thereby, increase asset values.
On a global level, according to a startup market research firm based in the US, 1,651 PropTech companies in 63 countries have attracted over US$52 billion in investments as of 1Q 2018.
While the US remains the leader, accounting for almost 50% of venture capital injected into PropTech startups in 2015, Asia is seeing two major players emerge: China and India capturing 26 percent and 8 percent of global investments, respectively.
According to a JLL report on “The Growing Influence of Proptech” China has the most market potential in Asia.
Cha, who’ll be speaking at Proptech Asia in Singapore in September discussed what Asian proptech leaders China, India, Singapore are doing right, and explained what Korea, who is a laggard in proptech, is doing wrong:
Despite having only 23 out of 179 PropTech start-ups in Asia Pacific, mainland China has received nearly 60 percent of Asia Pacific’s PropTech funding from 2012 to June 2017.
Of the top 10 funded PropTech companies globally, between 2011 and 2015, the top 2 were Chinese: Fangdd, a real estate platform connecting property sellers to home buyers, and Aiwujiwu, a Chinese rental and second-home listings portal.
India has the largest number of start-ups with 77 of 179 funded PropTech start- ups.
Brokerage and leasing dominates India’s PropTech scene. It is estimated that the country’s middle class is almost half of its total population, and among the highest-consuming middle class groups in the world.
India’s housing.com, a real estate search portal, made the Top 10 funded PropTech companies list at #6.
Singapore is fast becoming the regional HQ for tech startups.
Branded the Smart Nation, Singapore was recently awarded 1st rank in Asia in JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index adding that “The proptech sector is growing fast, especially in Asia, though adoption is still relatively low compared to North America and Europe.
We believe the Singapore government could play a key role in promoting proptech adoption through open-data initiatives and the pioneering of blockchain technology”.
Korea is mentioned here as a PropTech laggard. One of the main reasons for being a laggard is that Korea has not yet “connected the dots” on how PropTech can drive the success of better buildings and better cities.
Korea is just starting to understand the global smart, sustainable city trends.
And, it won’t be long before Korea starts to being a stronger player in the PropTech space.