Real Estate Companies

How do you spot a tiny Chinese real estate (房产) company? First, you should be on a street with lots of little shops. Then you just look for the shop with papers plastered all over the storefront window. That’s it. In Shanghai they are everywhere.

chinese real estate company

This is the way these little companies advertise their real estate, and the system seems pretty universal. Each paper is marked with either a (for sale) or a (for rent). The 售s tend to be on one side, the 租s on another. There also tend to be a lot more 售s. It’s a handy system because it means you can casually check out the company’s offerings without going in and being hassled by some salesperson.

One of these days I’ll get around to typing up the story of how I found my new apartment. It involves one of these little companies.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. We’ll all be looking forward to hearing that one. I guess I should say “reading that one”.

  2. Interesting. The real estate offices here advertise via mass mailings and some even produce monthly catalogs. They also post in the windows like the Shanghai offices. The ones here in Oakland, I’ve seen them posting ads through a rotating program via 42″ LCD/Plasma monitor hung in the window.

    Also, the rentals far exceed the sales – to OWN is AMERICAN.

    Looking forward to hearing about the apartment hunt and how you secured the “fat bachelor pad”.

  3. Advertising rentals and sales in the window is universal though isn’t it John? Happens in every country I’ve been to so far.

  4. Ben,

    I don’t know how universal it is… I’m only observing China right now. I’m fairly sure the 售/租 thing is pretty Chinese, though. 😉

  5. John,

    Soon, they’ll start shooting Lady from Shanghai, most likely in Shanghai. Keep your eyes open for that!

    Here’s the link:

    And for those who don’t know, Lady from Shanghai is Wong Kar Wei’s new film starring Australian actress, Nicole Kidman (who, post-Cruise, has sacked rocker Lenny Kravitz, and recently publicized, Elizabeth Hurley’s ex, millionaire Steve Bing).

  6. It’s my job to find apartment for rent. i’m travelling a lot and agree with Ben 100% percent- such type of advertise is everywhere- nothing special 😉

  7. […] As described by John, you can spot real estate agencies in China by the listings of available property to buy and rent posted on their front windows. On 长宁路 we found three almost next to each other, each offering slightly different wares, and some others that seemed to have only ludicrously expensive apartments for sale. […]

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