Helped by a rapid increase in single-person households, O2O (Online to Offline) real estate brokerage apps catering to customers looking for small one-room or two-room living quarters have flourished since they appeared in 2012.
For example, the Zigbang app, a market leader targeting single students and businessmen in their 20s and 30s, has accumulated about 20 million downloads in a country with a population of 51 million.
But their business model is now changing due to intensified competition, with some O2O apps reaching out to regular homes and apartments which traditionally have been covered by offline middlemen.
Zigbang started providing information for regular or large homes on Thursday. Its rival, Dabang, will follow suit during the latter half of the year.
Experts describe a change of direction as timely as the real estate market for apartments showed signs of recovering. Government data showed that of about 105 million houses traded last year, apartments accounted for 65.4 percent.
Park Sae-jin = firstname.lastname@example.org