Business / Industries

Showdown between China's realty agents and estate websites

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-12 10:13

SHANGHAI - Real estate agents are in the midst of a feud with listings websites after rising fees during a sluggish property market have both parties on edge.

The building frustrations erupted last week when 13 major realty companies in Shanghai jointly removed their house listings from, a leading real estate website previously named

The boycott came shortly after raised its service fees, charging 600 yuan ($97.5) for each house listed, almost ten times the amount charged five years ago. The increase elicited anger and protests amid an already spiraling property market.

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"Previously we had to pay about 10 million yuan per year for publishing our house information on, but after they updated their pricing system, we now have to pay almost 20 million," said a staff member at Coldwell Banker International Real Estate in Shanghai.

Housing websites like are no stranger to such boycotts. Back in May, nine real estate agents, which collectively control around 80 percent of the property sources in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, left the website in the same fashion.

Two months prior,, another housing information provider, saw similar snubbing in Shanghai. Strikes were staged in Beijing and Guangzhou shortly after.

In an era when real estate is intertwined with e-commerce, the agents' meltdown is a reflection of a "bear property market," said Li Jinde, head of the intermediary department of the Shanghai Office of Centaline Group, a real-estate management and consulting company.

"Our benefits have basically decreased, but their service fees are on the rise, which is making it difficult," said Li.

As a result, his company will have to lay off 25 percent of their employees, he said. reported a revenue of $41.7 million in the second quarter of 2014, an 8.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year. That figure is solely based on the money made via publishing house information for agents.

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