JLL is Leading the Way in New Era of PropTech

Published on 2017-11-07

Real estate giant offers a variety of new digital services to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology in the property sector

Over 200 leading real estate developers, tenants, finance professionals, technology pioneers and members of business chambers were in attendance for the “PowerUp: PropTech” seminar held by JLL (NYSE: JLL) in Beijing this afternoon. The real estate giant invited the group of industry leaders for a seminar and panel discussion to look at how real estate is set to become the next industry to be transformed by digital technology, and why China will be at the center of this property technology, or “PropTech”, revolution. 

At the event, Julien Zhang, Managing Director of JLL North China shared news of the fast-growing investment funding this sector is witnessing worldwide. “In 2015, $1.9 billion was invested in real estate technology companies, a figure which rose 36% in 2016 to $2.6 billion, and is predicted could reach $2.9 billion in 2017,” said Zhang. He went on to discuss the launch of JLL Spark, a global business which will add to the company’s existing PropTech capabilities and further JLL’s place as a leader in real estate technology by identifying and delivering new technology-driven industry solutions.

PropTech at JLL: Building the Future, the Future of Buildings

In his keynote speech, “Is Proptech an evolution or a revolution in real estate?”, Anthony Couse, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific outlined how he believes PropTech has the potential to both disrupt and transform the industry. As a new crop of data-based startups increasingly apply their skills in the use of analytics and algorithms to the area of real estate, the effect is beginning to be felt in both the residential and the commercial sectors, and this is only set to grow in the next few years. JLL is already making use of the advantages offered by digital innovations across many areas of its business, by developing and acquiring a wide range of apps, programs, and services such as askJLL, MarketLink, and Corrigo.

“Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Big Data and 3D Printing are the key technologies that are shaping the global PropTech trend” said Couse in his keynote speech at the event. “Driven by the rapid urbanization, the emerging middle class, and a tech-savvy population, as well as the government's strong support of innovation and entrepreneurship, we believe China will lead the digital transformation of the real estate industry and become a hub for PropTech in coming years."

Big City, Big Data: What Next for Beijing?

In September, the Chinese government approved a general city plan for Beijing for the period between 2016 and 2035 which generated huge public attention both domestically and internationally. JLL was part of this initiative and tapped on its data analysis tools to examine Beijing’s economy, population, land approvals, land transactions and city planning. The results were used to form predictions about Beijing’s future development.

Zhang Yiyi, Head of Strategic Consulting, North China presented the key findings in her speech at the event and said: “Beijing’s rapid development in the last three decades has mostly relied on the expansion of population and land creation, but under the new plan, the city will face challenges in terms of the restriction of population and land supply. If the functionality of newly appointed zones such as the city sub-center in Tongzhou and the new business area in Fengtai are successfully developed, the city will certainly achieve its goal of becoming a world-class, harmonious, and livable city.” This use of big data analytics to predict how the market will change over time is just one example of how PropTech will be applied in coming years.

A Changing Landscape: The Tech-Effect in Real Estate

The final part of the event was a panel discussion titled “The Use of Technology and How It Is Changing the Property World”. Eric Hirsch, Head of Markets, JLL North China joined a panel which also included Charles Cai, Chief Data Officer of Wanda Internet Technology Group, Chen Kaijun, Senior Portfolio manager of Microsoft China, and was moderated by Rachel Morarjee, Director of the Economist Corporate Network.

Hirsch shared his insights on how technological developments within the future office market. “Technology will certainly play an increasingly important role of the workplace transformation as the generation of digital natives, born after 2000s, is now on the job market. How to meet their demand by introducing more technology element to enhance human experience is a challenge that all office landlords, tenants and service firms are facing.”

JLL has developed a number of home-grown technology applications to better serve its clients, namely through analysis, management, and transactions, within the real estate market. Three such technologies were presented at the event for real estate professionals to experience JLL’s PropTech firsthand. They were PAT, an integrated Portfolio Analytics Tool, VR 360, a virtual reality service for design and build; and, an online marketplace for finding office space in China. JLL are already following the path outlined by Zhang, who stated that “The next five years will be pivotal, and we must innovate and stay relevant through investment and collaboration with startups, to find the best technology and talent to serve our clients’ needs.”