Chinese web giant Tencent has paid US$180 million to take a 15 percent stake in a major real estate portal and ecommerce site in the country, the company said this evening. Tencent’s stake is in Leju, which is a subsidiary of E-House (NYSE:EJ).
Leju is in the process of being spun off from E-House for its own US IPO, at an unscheduled point this year. Leju’s F1 filing with the US SEC is here. (Update on April 18: Leju (NYSE:LEJU) made its debut on the markets at $10.50 per share, but managed to close first day’s trading up at $11.86.)
This new deal comes just eleven days after Tencent radically shook up its struggling ecommerce business by taking a 15 percent stake in Amazon-style estore JD. As part of that agreement, JD will run part of Tencent’s online shopping business.
Leju (pictured below) has real estate listings, a property search engine, and an ads platform to make money from property-related ads. Tencent already has its own ads-stuffed property portal at house.qq.com.
The killer part of the deal for Leju is that – according to Tencent president Martin Lau – the partnership “will bring Leju’s rich real estate information to WeChat users” in China. Perhaps Chinese users of WeChat will soon be able to buy a house within the messaging app. That’s not too far fetched since they can already use it to buy stuff or book a taxi.