China’s second-largest property developer, China Vanke Co. Ltd., will invest RMB 3 billion ($440 million U.S.) in the real-estate listings site Lianjia. The size of the stake acquired by Vanke in Lianjia is undisclosed at this time, although Sunac China Holdings invested a similar sum (RMB 2.6 billion), for a 6.25-percent stake in Lianjia in January.
Beijing-based Lianjia was valued at RMB 41.6 billion in January. In April 2016, the company raised a massive RMB 6 billion in series B funding. Investors included the tech giants Baidu and Tencent.
Vanke’s open wallet comes as something of a surprise as the company’s board of directors remains undetermined. As recently as two weeks ago it was understood that Vanke was under the control of the Shenzhen Municipal Government (see here and here). The company has been struck by internal power struggles since late 2015, when financial conglomerate Baoneng Group built up a 25-percent stake and sought to oust management.
The investment marks the latest development in a long-standing courtship between the two companies. Lianjia became a strategic partner in the listing of Vanke’s developments in 2014, and the two companies co-founded a renovation and furnishing company in 2015.
Lianjia’s platform covers both rental and sales, and its network covers 36 cities across China. The company also claims to have a 7-percent market share in China’s online and offline real estate services market. Its greatest penetration is in Beijing, where it claims to facilitate more than a 1,000 transactions per month.
It is understood that at present the possibility of an IPO is under consideration by Lianjia, but that no definite timetable has been set.
In related news, at the end of March, China’s leading classifieds site 58.com acquired a 5-percent stake in the Vanke subsidary, Vanke Property Management (which we reported on here).