China's tech scene has once again out-innovated its government regulators.
While the country is restricting how its money moves out of country in an effort to preserve its value, new real estate investing apps and platforms are allowing China's residents to invest in properties across the world. For example, someone from China can put up $4,500 and be promised a return on investment paid back in American dollars.
The new tech is aimed at China's middle class, with several platforms offering limits up to $5,000, and one company testing investments as low as $100.
Through these channels, Chinese money has found its way into real estate projects far beyond a few Brooklyn brownstones: homes in New Jersey, medical facilities in Georgia, motel chains. Oversea Crowd, a Chinese private equity firm, has used crowdfunding to raise investments starting at $10,000 from Chinese clients to help fund several luxury student apartments near public universities in Georgia and North Carolina. Their latest apartment complex financed through crowdfunding will soon open near Harvard’s business school.
For investors, the returns depend on the period of investment — sometimes up to five years, other times, only 30 days. On average, longer-term investments have returns of 9 to 11 percent. The company collects an upfront fee, usually equal to a percentage of the investment. Investors receive returns in foreign currency, usually dollars.