The Tiktok & WeChat Ban: An Opportunity for Canadian Real Estate

Tiktok and WeChat: two massive apps now 45 days away from being banned in the USA

Trump recently signed executive orders to ban TikTok and WeChat. For Americans, this means the end of conducting any business on these platforms. It’s a very big deal. WeChat especially. Banning the video app is also important, for different reasons (we’ll cover those another time). 

Nonetheless, this is an amazing opportunity for the real-estate industry in Canada. 

Here’s the short version of why (what’s going on): 

  • Trump has issued a WeChat ban that takes effect in 45 days. WeChat is what most Chinese-Americans use for everything from chatting with loved ones in China to paying bills, and doing all their online shopping. 
  • We believe this will make Chinese-Americans consider setting up beach-heads in Canada and Australia. Maybe not move here full time, but at least purchase something. 
  • Coupled with the political exodus in Hong Kong, Canadian real-estate developers have a massive opportunity in front of them with these markets. 
    • One of our Hong Kong campaigns produced over 300 leads in less than a few weeks. They’re all in line to see if they can buy a home from our client. 
    • The budgets were modest, and the cost per lead was less than the local average. 
  • The best way to capitalize including targeting key regions: 
    • Focus on securing new leads from these regions. Include awareness campaigns so audiences can also become familiar with the developer. 
    • When all is said and done, making sure this also benefits local economies and communities will create better brand equity (and it’s just a great thing to do). 

In this piece, we’ll review: 

  • What happened with these bans and the details
  • Why it’s good for the Canadian real estate industry
  • How real-estate developers can actually capitalize

Remember that the situation evolves every day, and so the content of this article may become outdated as early as next week. We will keep audiences updated to the best of our ability.

Let’s start with an overview. 

What Trump’s WeChat Ban Actually Means:

Here’s why this ban will seriously affect Chinese-language populations in the United States: 

  • Chinese-Americans with ties to China must use WeChat to communicate with family, friends, etc. Why? China bans all the other apps from passing through their “Great Firewall.” 
  • WeChat is required to live in China. It’s a part of the culture and way of life. Can’t stress this enough. People use WeChat to pay their bills, shop, take payments, and do everything that requires the internet and a device. 
  • WeChat is also a direct connection to the bank. Includes purchases, transferring funds, signing contracts and much more

It becomes incredibly difficult for someone to live their life when their way of life faces disruption. This ban would impact 1-billion homes in what is being called a new Cold War. WeChat is so much more than just an app. It’s required to live in Chinese society. 

Imagine you can’t communicate with your homeland, pay your bills, transfer funds from one place to another, or buy things online. How would you feel?

The orders take effect in 45 days. 

Why This is Good for Canadian Real-Estate:

There are many theories of how Chinese-Americans may respond to a WeChat ban given how much they use the app. The jury’s out on any definitive conclusion. 

Our theory is simple: We believe this will make Chinese-Americans consider setting up beach-heads in Canada and Australia. 

Maybe not move here full time, but at least purchase a home, just in case. Canada will continue seeing a massive exodus of Chinese-language groups leaving the United States and Hong Kong. 

We’ve seen hundreds of leads register for single projects when targeting Hong Kong. We know that targeting the USA will create the same results. In fact, the results may be better because of the current USD to CAD exchange rate.

Smart Canadian real-estate developers are poised to succeed if they realize the potential and act quickly. 

How Canadian Real-Estate Can Make the Most of This WeChat Ban: 

The short answers are: 

  1. Start with the more cost-effective options and then expand after you have early traction. 
  2. Update existing campaigns with extra budgets to target these audiences
  3. Translate your existing material with cultural-fluency until it’s 10x better than Google translate. (Google translate for backpacking across Asia, not selling $Ms). 
  4. Ensure your team is prepared to follow up with new leads, or build automation that really wow potential buyers with on-point follow-ups.
  5. Optimize campaigns after the first month based on the early metrics. 

The long answer is that it comes down to the leadership groups in these development companies. The mindset is vital to a successful campaign.

“Winning” in this situation will require quick decision making. Not everyone can make the most of this, and it’s a first-mover advantage that will decide. After all, the WeChat ban takes effect in just 45 days. 

Chinese-language marketing and advertising have been a major driver of home sales locally. We know because we see the numbers. 

This focus on driving sales, unfortunately, often leaves out the local economy. We believe that addressing this gap also, is required to truly leverage wins across the board. 

Responsibility to Stimulate Local Economies: 

The local communities and economies are vital to ongoing growth and longevity. It’s a PR risk to target foreign markets without taking care of the local ones. The pandemic has made it clear that brand equity (your reputation in front of the audiences you care about), is always at risk. 

In these times, you’re much better off creating opportunities to stimulate the local economy instead of using tactics that make you look like slimy salespeople.

Instead of cashback, offer gift cards to local companies like the grocery, coffee shop, furniture store, and more. It’s a better approach for your brand (and a good thing to do). 

Final Words: 

These orders have major implications and are, again, a very big deal. We’re talking about the everything app for tens of millions of people in the USA. 

We believe these orders will likely cause a politically charged exodus, and Canada will be a destination. Immigration is a big part of Canadian history and there is no way to believe otherwise in this situation as well. 

Real-estate developers in Canada can become the benefactors if they act quickly. One month into a Hong Kong campaign and our team produced hundreds of leads waiting in line to see if they can buy a home. That’s powerful.

The developers and marketing teams who take on this example will get ahead. The rest will fall behind and watch. 

History tells us this will continue until November 4th. We will keep you updated to the best of our ability. 

For more information, contact us.

Thanks for reading.