Virtual reality (VR) — long touted as a life-altering technological breakthrough — hasn’t properly taken off in China as a consumer product. Yet the Chinese real estate industry is rapidly expanding its push into VR, as the COVID-19 epidemic has made real-world home tours almost impossible.
According to a recent report (in Chinese) from Beike Zhaofang (贝壳找房 bèiké zhǎofáng), an online Chinese real estate brokerage service, realtors and buyers initiated an average of nearly 350,000 virtual house viewings per day in February, about 35 times the previous month’s number.
The Chinese real estate sector is one of the many industries that have been hit hard by the outbreak. Between January 1 and March 4 this year, “about 110” Chinese property companies — mostly small- to medium-sized — have gone bankrupt, according to Chinacourt.org (in Chinese), a legal news website run by the State Council.