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Behaviour, Bargains and Understanding Chinese Buyers

By Silvia Wei

With more and more Chinese buyers entering the Australian property market, there are some vendors, agents, bankers and brokers, to name a few, who feel frustrated by the buyers’ behavior.

Many of these people do not understand why Chinese people pay inflated prices and engage in “crazy” behavior such as bargaining, arguing and jumping around to secure a property.

Historically, Chinese people like to own property. The belief is to own something, not borrow or lease land that does not belong to you.

Looking back through the decades, prior to 1949 with the rise of Communism, many Chinese used to own their land, houses, farms, factories, shops and other assets. But once Communism came to power, the landscape

dramatically changed with all things being of course commonly shared.

Despite this, the ideology of asset ownership is still rooted in Chinese people’s minds. So Chinese people buying property are not following a “trend” but, rather, it is part of their tradition.

It’s true, Chinese people like to bargain no matter if we are rich or poor. To buy through bargaining in China is very popular, and is how the majority of people operate.

This behavior is two pronged. Firstly, if you buy an item, and you did not bargain you would be regarded as a fool, because everyone bargains.

Secondly, on a psychological level, if you get a good deal or bargain, you feel better, you win, and you “win face” in Chinese culture. And face is very important – more important than fiscal gain. So people who buy something

they can afford still bargain, even for a very small amount money.

Of course, not everyone is like this. Some Chinese buyers don’t believe in bargaining, which may work against them.

Vendors can pre-empt the bargaining tenacity of a Chinese buyer by inflating the property price, purely on the assumption that prospective buyers will bargain down. This strategy can be detrimental to the vendor.

Once Chinese buyers find out that they’re “being played” they will never go back to you, as Chinese culture places value and relationships above all else.

If they find you to be honest, polite, reasonable, friendly, they will go back to you for repeat business as well as recommend you to their network – which is always extensive.

Sometimes, relationships are worth much more than money, and, if the relationship is fantastic, Chinese buyers may even be happy to pay a little bit more.

So, my suggestion is to not “rip off” or be too harsh on Chinese business, especially in the beginning.

If you want long-term business, you must be gentle and understanding. Chinese have a saying: “less profit but long term business”. Do not kill the goose and take its egg.

About Author

William Shen – Commercial Sales Manager

William Shen joined the Ray White City South team with a view of cultivating and expanding the agency’s property portfolio in the Asian market, with an emphasis on the Sydney CBD and Chinatown region. He holds a Master of Property Development from the University of New South Wales,and a Master of Business Administration from Macquarie University.

Connect William Shen on 0419 406 645 or

Check out his recent sales:

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