Sohu Focus, an internet-based housing data provider, has entered the long-term apartment rental segment.
A Sohu Focus stall displays the company's offerings at a spring property expo in Beijing.[Photo by A Qing/for China Daily]
The move is part of its efforts to emerge as a one-stop platform for all housing-related services.
"This year is very important for long-term rentals," said Fan Gongchen, general manager of Sohu Focus. "That's why we launched our own long-term rental brand."
According to Fan, presence across new homes, pre-owned homes and rental segments is key to be a user-friendly service provider.
"We receive about 2,000 enquiries a day about new homes and 500 calls about pre-owned homes. The market demand is growing," Fan said.
Different from agencies that cooperate with individuals on providing apartments for long-term rent, Sohu Focus engages with mainstream real estate companies and startups that develop long-term rental apartments.
"The competition in this field is becoming increasingly fierce," he said. "And developers will carry out a comprehensive upgrade".
One-third of the top 30 real estate enterprises have already entered the long-term rental segment. More than half of the top 20 have large-scale expansion plans.
Developers, intermediaries, hotel operators and entrepreneurs are active in the market.
"We hope to develop 500 quality agents," Fan said. "We will introduce live-streaming feature on the Sohu Focus app (so that prospective tenants could view apartments before finalizing a visit)."