ITOCHU Announces Business / Capital Alliances with ietty inc., an Online Real Estate Agency
March 31, 2017
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU and CENTURY 21 REAL ESTATE OF JAPAN LTD. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Kunihiro Osada, President & CEO; hereinafter “CENTURY 21”) have acquired stock under the third-party allotment conducted by ietty inc., a company that provides online customer support-type real estate brokerage (headquartered in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Taihei Ogawa, CEO; hereinafter “ietty”). ITOCHU and CENTURY 21 have jointly acquired new shares at a subscription amount of about 250 million yen. In addition, CENTURY 21 will enter into an alliance agreement with ietty and dispatch one director to its board.
As the Japanese headquarters of Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the world’s largest residential real estate network, CENTURY 21 operates a real estate franchise business with over 900 broker offices nationwide, the largest number in Japan*, and has successfully grown its business. In the operating environment surrounding the real estate industry, digitalization and online services, the so-called Real Estate Tech (ReTech), are expected to make rapid progress. CENTURY 21 has been aggressively investing in IT, including “21Cloud”, a new sales support system, and an automated condominium appraisal system. It has also sought to achieve an early provision of services based on advanced technologies that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
ITOCHU positions the AI area as one of its focus areas and has been actively promoting venture investments in Japan and overseas. To accelerate the strengthening and expansion of the businesses of its entire group, ITOCHU has been investing in ventures that use advanced technologies to create new services
ITOCHU and CENTURY 21 have decided to make a joint capital investment in ietty, together with the conclusion of an alliance agreement between CENTURY 21 and ietty, based on the judgment that fusing ietty’s online marketing techniques—which are pioneering online chat customer support systems in leasing brokerage, its live chat customer support system using AI and its operation know-how—with the real-world network of broker offices of CENTURY 21 will contribute to the development of business of each party.
Starting with leasing brokerage business, the focus going forward will be on applyingcustomer acquisition services, live chat customer support system and operation know-how offered by ietty to business activities conducted by CENTURY 21, with the aim of increasing the number of customer transfers to CENTURY 21 franchisees and maximizing the sales and competitive strength of the franchisees, while stepping up efforts to add new franchisees to reach 1,000 broker offices at the earliest stage.
- Number of franchised broker offices in Japan that handle both real estate purchases and sales and rentals (as of July 2016. Source: Tokyo Shoko Research, Ltd.)
Overview of ietty inc.
|Overview of ietty inc.||ietty inc.|
|Location||6F Asahi Building 1-11-2 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013|
|Representative||Taihei Ogawa, CEO|
|Description of business||Development, operation, etc. of “ietty,” a rental property recommendation platform|