Century 21 China Real Estate subsidiary Shanggu is displaying property inventory on Alibaba Group’s Taobao.com, a Chinese shopping site similar to Amazon.com, the latest example of the growing reliance on “O2O” (online-to-offline) sales channels to boost sluggish sales.

Shanggu will also hold online property auctions in cooperation with property consulting company Fangpaipai, providing buyers with “a flexible, safe and authentic platform to search for their ideal property,” parent company IFM Investments Ltd., the exclusive franchisor of the Century 21 brand in China, said.

“Shanggu’s expansion onto Taobao is a big step forward for Century 21 China Real Estate’s growing O2O offering,” said Donald Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer of Century 21 China Real Estate, in a statement.

China’s largest property developer, China Vanke Co., announced last month that it would offer discounts on homes in a dozen cities around the country through Sept. 30 on Taobao.com as part of a strategy to weather weakness in housing markets there, Caixin Online reported.

A growing number of Chinese developers are counting on O2O sales channels to help them trim inventories as the country’s red-hot real estate market continues to cool, WantChinaTimes reports. Platforms providing O2O services to property developers and brokers include SouFun, Fangdd and Haowu.

Haowu Chairman Wang Meiling tells WantChinaTimes that O2O services are starting to substitute for traditional bricks-and-mortar sales channels, and that his website “enables numerous agents to represent one property, which heralds a new era for the sector.”

Last month Century 21 China reported that as it continued to close offices to stem losses, agent count at the end of June was down 13 percent from a year ago, to 11,800 in 23 cities.

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