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Brokerage Seeks Chinese-Speaking Buyers
Brokerage seeks Chinese-speaking buyers
Bond New York launches a Chinese-language page on its website as it seeks to grow its brand in Asia; rivals opt to emphasize number of different tongues spoken.
Founded in 2000, Bond is one of the few brokerages in the city to have content on their site in a foreign language. To help visitors quickly find their way to the page, a tab with Chinese characters has been added to the brokerage's home page. In Chinese, the page on Bond New York's site introduces the brokerage and its services, as well as the New York City real estate market.
“There are lots of Asian investors looking for property information who prefer to use their own language,” said Michael Chen, Bond's director of Asian market development, who suggested creating the page after hearing from his Asian clients about the need for it. “We have to put a message out there that tells them that we have the capability to serve them.”
Additionally, Bond said it is launching a Web marketing campaign in Chinese-speaking countries to connect folks overseas to the brokerage firm and the New York real estate market in general.
“We launched a Chinese-language section to better service this community, and we understand the importance of growing our brand within China, Taiwan, and other parts of the Pacific Rim,” said Noah Freedman, co-founder of Bond, which currently has 450 agents in six offices across the city. He notes that the Chinese population accounts for 5.4% of the city's population.
Bond is not the only brokerage to provide Web content in a foreign language. Prodigy Network, a marketing firm, has an option on its website that lets visitors switch the site to Spanish from English. Meanwhile, most brokerage firms have a feature on their website that allows visitors to find agents at the firm who are fluent in specific languages. The Corcoran Group's site, for example, allows clients to search for agents who speak a total of 29 foreign languages, ranging from Farsi to Norwegian. Halstead, meanwhile, lists speakers of 19 languages.
Some New York brokers warn that advertising in specific languages may be risky. Instead, they believe that being multi-lingual is useful enough to cater to clients overseas.
“We found by advertising in foreign languages you can unconsciously alienate certain cultures,” said Frances Katzen, a managing director at Prudential Douglas Elliman, who considered using that approach for one of her new developments in the past. She never launched a foreign language campaign for the project because she figured that by using Chinese or Japanese in ads she may be deterring other overseas buyers from purchasing units in a building.
“Languages are helpful when speaking to clients, but you have to stay open,” said Ms. Katzen, who has several European, Asian and Latin American clients currently looking for apartments in the city.