Jutubao links rural land buyers and sellers online, taking 30% of market share
By Tan Yingzi
Last December, an online auction of an island in the Maldives on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao.com hit the headlines. Surprisingly for such a big deal, the agency that handled all the business transactions was a startup company in Chongqing.
In April, 2015, the internet company Chongqing Meicun Technology Co Ltd launched jutubao.com, a website that provides one-stop services for land transactions at home and abroad.
The first of its kind in the country, "Jutubao" in Chinese means a valuable place to find land.
"Our business model is similar to a property agency, such as Lianjia," Meicun's founder and CEO Tian Jinglong told China Daily.
"The difference is they deal with houses and we do land, all kinds of land."
On the website, people can search for land and publish their needs. After the transaction is done, the company can provide the financial services and asset management for the client.
Another feature of the company is that it makes money not from a commission on the deal, but from the related services, Tian said.
So far, there are 300 million mu (20 million hectares) of land listed on the website, with 190,000 registered users.
Completed transactions for about 14 million mu has already been finished.
As increasing number of Chinese companies and rich people have been purchasing land overseas in recent years, so the website launched its global business arm and is publishing information about land in foreign countries, including islands, ranches and beaches.
"We developed land agents in foreign countries and we have resources in quite a few of them, such as Russia, Australia and Scandinavian countries," Tian said.
At present, Tian said he will focus mainly on rural land, which is in huge demand in China.
Tian, 39, was born and reared in the countryside of Chongqing.
Like most Chinese rural young people, Tian left his home soil at the age of 20 and made a living in Shanghai.
He tried many businesses, such as a travel agency and an online shopping website for rural areas. A trip back home in 2013 helped him choose a new market－rural land circulation.
The term "rural land circulation" means farmers transfer their land operation rights so that dispersed farmland can be centralized for mass agricultural production.
In recent years, much farmland has been left unused as an increasing number of young farmers swarm into the cities.
Due to lack of information, the elderly villagers can hardly rent out their land, while agriculture companies find it hard to get enough land to develop their projects.
"I believe what I'm doing now can really serve the villagers who help the development of agriculture in China," he said.
His project was picked by Tencent Makerspace (Chongqing), an internet startup incubator located in Chongqing Liangjiang New Area, which is the first inland State-level pilot zone for development and the third in China after Shanghai Pudong and Tianjin Binhai.
Makerspace, a new norm in China for startup incubators, is a major platform to attract new ideas and talented people.
Thanks to the tailored service and support from the incubator, jutubao.com has grown fast and has taken about 30 percent of the market share.
Recently, it got its first round of financing, worth millions of dollars, it announced.