PropertyGuru Makes Strategic Investment in Vietnam’s No.1 Property Portal
PropertyGuru Group, Asia’s leading online property group, has made a strategic investment in Batdongsan.com.vn (“Batdongsan”), Vietnam’s No.1 property site. While no financial terms have been disclosed by either party, this investment gives PropertyGuru two seats on the Board of Directors (or the “Board”) and makes PropertyGuru one of the key shareholders of the Vietnamese property portal. Batdongsan Founder and Managing General Director, Lê Xuân Trường, will continue to operate the business and keep a significant stake in the company.
Batdongsan is used by over 2 million people in Vietnam every month—with four times more monthly visits than its nearest competitor. The company features the most property listings for consumers—over 1.9 million choices as of 2015, the highest number of agent clients in the market—over 80,000 as of 2016, and employs approximately 500 staff at seven offices across Vietnam.
The investment also advances PropertyGuru’s delivery on its Southeast Asia growth agenda and adds another core market to its existing portfolio of leading property sites in the region.
Jani Rautiainen, Executive Director and Co-Founder of PropertyGuru Group, said “Our property portals have become the No.1 choice in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and so we’ve been looking to add the fifth market to our portals portfolio for the past couple of months. Given our existing relationship with Batdongsan and Vietnam’s list of positives, choosing to deepen our current partnership with Batdongsan and add Vietnam as our fifth core market was an obvious choice. We’re excited about this investment in Batdongsan as it increases our foothold in one of the largest and fastest growing countries in Southeast Asia.”
In the first half of 2016, Vietnam’s GDP grew by 5.5% and is expected to continue growing at 6.0-6.5% in 2016 to 2020. In Ho Chi Minh City, GDP grew even faster at 7.5% in the first half of 2016. The strong economic growth is a result of favourable demographics (approximately 70% of its ~94 million population is under the age of 35), continued urbanisation, industrialisation and higher employment in the services sector and a rising middle class.
From a digital landscape point of view, Vietnam is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world; the latter’s internet users are expected to grow from ~50 million in 2016 to ~82 million in 2020. While active internet users’ penetration is ~50%, active social media users’ and active mobile social users’ penetrations are ~37% and 31% respectively (as of Jan 2016). Vietnam is also one of the most populated smartphone markets in Southeast Asia, with smartphone users in the market estimated to reach 24.6 million in end 2016 and mobile connections at ~152% (vs. population, as of Jan 2016).
With this investment, the two companies will collaborate more deeply to share market knowledge and industry best practices and increase collaboration across sales, marketing, and product innovation. Consumers in PropertyGuru’s current markets will benefit from greater visibility into Vietnam property and potential investment opportunities, while consumers in Vietnam will benefit from additional property content, listings, and new services to ease their property searches. Agents and developers in Vietnam will gain access to PropertyGuru’s products and services.
Lê Xuân Trường, Batdongsan Founder and Managing Director, said, “After serving the Vietnamese market for the past 10 years, we felt that it was now time to take the company to the next level. We’ve had a great relationship and partnership with PropertyGuru all these years, and we’re very excited about deepening our ties to further support our mutual long-term growth and ambitions.”
Trường concluded by stating, “PropertyGuru’s support and capitalization, including access to new technologies and industry innovation, will allow us to grow into a major player in the region. With this partnership, we’re now closer to realising our mission of meeting all real estate demands in Vietnam, with higher efficiency. I’m also especially thrilled that property seekers in Vietnam will now benefit from additional property content and news services, making the search for their dream home even easier.”