Category Archives: innovation

Aussie expat builds Chinese apartment hunting site

Toujuwang – An Expat’s Attempt to Improve Apartment Hunting in China

A Q+A with Jason Lim, a successful Australian entrepreneur launching a service aimed at domestic Chinese apartment hunters amid ever-soaring housing costs

By Michelle GuoJason profile pic with logo

The city of Beijing is a place with rich culture, constant changes and a growing startup scene. As one of the more developed tech hubs in the country, Beijing is host to a large and growing number of foreign entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in China.

I sat down for an interview with Jason Lim, an Australian entrepreneur who’s been based here in the capital for the past three years. His newest project,Toujuwang, is an online platform with the goal of bringing transparency to local housing prices for domestic Chinese apartment hunters. With many existing housing websites posting false apartment photos and misleading prices, Jason hopes to win over the local Chinese market by providing an open alternative method for apartment hunting.

Toujuwang is a unique project not only in that it is attempting to provide a service inside the domestic market, but that it builds on Lim’s previous experience building an apartment search service for expats.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the name and idea behind Toujuwang?

The idea from the start was to increase transparency in the residential real estate market in China. To achieve this, we want to build a network of renters in China and give them a platform to share and exchange information about their rental situation, like price and quality of property. We want to bring this information to the surface and give them an alternative to asking agents, looking at poor websites or asking a limited number of friends.

The name “Toujuwang” means “transparent living space.” It comes from the Chinese words tòumíng 透明, which means transparent, and zhù 住 (pronounced similar to ju), which means to live. We want to empower renters to share and have access to information that is otherwise hidden or controlled by people who are incentivized to keep the market murky.

Right now if you were to figure out the price of a rental property on your own, there are only a limited number of sources. If you think about it, all of these sources (besides your friends) are biased. Agents and landlords are incentivized to charge more rent to obviously make more money. Websites artificially list lower prices to attract customers, and then switch them to something that is really “available.” You can imagine how frustrating it is for people to hear so many vastly different quotes. We hope that Toujuwang will give people an idea of what the prices are in certain areas so that they can make an informed decision on where to live.


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Great to see Aussie’s building businesses in China!

my sub-conscious is hungry

I think I’ve read it elsewhere on the Internet (so it must be true) when you absorb a lot of input your sub-conscious sort of chews on it for a while and then spits out new ideas. My written-word sensory input comes from a lot of places but my latest source that I thought I’d call out is They collate new business ideas from all over the place and email them out either daily or weekly. I’m showing mercy to my overloaded inbox, so I opt for weekly.

One of the things I like is the ideas aren’t just the latest iPhone app or web 2.0 site (is that still cool?). This throws in something new for my over-worked sub-conscious mind to ponder. Left to my own devices, I tend to focus on “e-ideas” a little too heavily and don’t consider the wider world and its problems. Last email there was a vertical spiral thing for growing a veggie garden in space-constrained areas. I could almost see myself putting a couple of these in, if I ever wanted to put down my iPhone.

Aussie start-ups to get $83m boost

Now I’m really confused. IT News is reporting start-ups are to get an $83M funding boost, but if you go back and read the media release from Senator Karr’s office, it looks like there is a bit of a hurdle to  qualifyas a start-up:

The companies that could benefit from this fund employ at least 1000 people

Besides the mixed message hitting the media, I wonder if it truly is aimed at start-ups? 1000 people seems to be a pretty high bar for any start-up.

But at least, its something.