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Asia Pacific start-ups receive over 60 per cent of global ‘proptech’ investment

New report commissioned by JLL reveals US$4.8 billion of the US$7.8 billion invested globally was in Asia Pacific from 2013 to 2017

​Property technology – or proptech – start-ups in Asia Pacific are outpacing their counterparts in Europe and the United States with 179 of them raising around US$4.8 billion in funding since 2013. This represents over 60 percent of proptech investment worldwide, according to new research from JLL.

The real estate consultant today released the findings of its report, Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech, which analyses the state of proptech and its growth potential in 13 markets across Asia Pacific. Commissioned by JLL and authored by start-up community Tech In Asia, the report also reveals the forecast for proptech growth in the region, predicting that funding will reach US$4.5 billion a year by 2020.

A blend of the words property and technology, proptech refers to the application of technology to solve challenges in the real estate sector.

“Technology and real estate are converging in exciting ways. We’re already seeing the potential of data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality and blockchain, to transform how we invest in and occupy real estate in the future,” says Anthony Couse, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific.

“The findings of the report show that there is a great deal of potential for proptech in Asia Pacific. With its young population, rapid urbanisation and ‘mobile first’ mindset, all the conditions are in place for this new sector to accelerate, bringing increased efficiencies and better experiences for the end-user.”
Asian proptech giants 

According to the report, Greater China and India emerged as the top two markets for proptech start-ups in the region, based on funding value and total number of deals. Those in Greater China raised the most funding with approximately US$3.02 billion or over 60% per cent of Asia Pacific’s total funding from 34 deals. India has the highest number of proptech start-ups in Asia Pacific at 77 deals which, combined, raised a total of US$928 million.

Country/market​Combined funding value (USD,000)​Deal counts
​Greater China (Mainland China & Hong Kong)​$3,025​34
​Southeast Asia​$738​36
​Northeast Asia (excluding China & Hong Kong)​$101​13

Proptech evolution

The report revealed that proptech in Asia Pacific has evolved significantly since it first emerged in 2007 with residential property listing start-ups. In its current iteration, it is beginning to serve larger enterprise needs and the commercial real estate sector. 
Proptech startups serve four main verticals or niches, says the report: Brokerage and Leasing, Investment and Financing, Project Development, and Property Management. More than half (52 per cent) of the start-ups that have raised funding since 2013 are in the brokerage and leasing space, where they serve as a marketplace for brokers, property owners and purchasers.

“What’s really interesting for a company like JLL is that more start-ups are beginning to emerge that bring solutions that are scalable for big corporate needs,” explains Mr Couse. “Once we start to see the application of technologies such as 3D printing, robotics and drones alongside the rise of Smart Cities in Asia, it could lead to a transformation of the real estate industry.”

Asia’s proptech ‘unicorns’

Based on a specially developed matrix analysing the Total Investable Real Estate Universe by JLL and Digital Savviness defined by the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index, Tech in Asia projects that the countries with the highest potential of nurturing unicorns – or billion dollar start-ups – in Asia Pacific are China and Japan.

“We’ve noticed that China already has proptech unicorns. Notably – Lianjia – raise US$1.69 billion for its tech-enabled brokerage business. Given the country’s enthusiastic adoption of fintech and mobile payments, there are likely to be more in China. But we also think Japan is ripe to create a billion dollar startup because of its eagerness to adopt blockchain,” says Terence Lee, chief editor at Tech in Asia. 

“While many of the start-ups we follow are in areas such as e-commerce and gaming, we believe that proptech is one of the key sectors to watch in the next three to five years.”
Download Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech here.

Notes to editors:
Tech in Asia (TIA)’s research approach is data-driven instead of hypothesis-driven. All data were collected first then patterns were identified. 

Data used in the report are taken from TIA’s own database, primary sources as well as trusted secondary sources for derivative calculations. The shortlist of 179 start-ups used to analyse Asia Pacific’s proptech scene in the reports are those that had managed to raise funds and were still operating as of July, 2017. Funding values of included start-ups are collected from 2012 until July, 2017. 

Covered markets include China (mainland China and Hong Kong), India, South East Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), North East Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan) and Australasia (Australia, New Zealand).

Download Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech here​.