Ruth Goes to China to Conduct International Real Estate and Business
During the first weeks of July I joined the FIABCI-US Chapter in Beijing, China for an international real estate summit. Fellow delegates of FIABCI US Chapter included:
Edward Alford from Boston, MA. Edward is President of FIABCI-USA and owner of Advanced Global Realty.
Maire Rosel from Park City, UT. Maire is the FIABCI-USA Treasurer and associate broker with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.
Elizabeth Davidson from Seattle, WA. Elizabeth is the FIABCI-USA Vice President and broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty.
Nancy Suvarnamai from Chicago, IL. Nancy is the owner of Century 21 S.G.R. Inc.
John Krolick from Lake Tahoe, Nevada. John is the owner of Alpine Realty International.
Dano Sayles from Maui, Hawaii. Owner of RE/MAX Lifestyle.
As you may know, this was one of my many international business trips with FIABCI. I was excited to be in Asia and explore new business opportunities and make new relationships. Here are diary entries from the trip:
The Temple of Heaven
The Chinese have a long and rich history in its people and land. With a deep appreciation for the elegant traditions and ancient sites, we toured The Temple of Heaven. It is a spectacular example of history and culture. Constructed between 1406 and 1420 during the reign of Emperor Yongle and followed by the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. The temple’s primary purpose was for the annual pilgrimage to the temple for the purpose of the yearly prayer to heaven for a good harvest by the Emperors of the Ming and Quing dynasties.
Getting to the temple we chose to ride the Chinese subway system, a cultural experience in itself. The Beijing Subway is a busy hub packed full of people, but is well organized with 3 levels underground making it an excellent way to get around town, and avoiding the heavy traffic.
FIABCI-USA CIREAA Meeting
C.I.R.E.A.A. (China Institute for Real Estate Appraisers and Agents) is the governing body for real estate agents and appraisers for all of China. Secretary General FIABCI-USA, Bill Endsley, did a presentation on the cooperation between China, the US and FIABCI to 300 Chinese real estate brokers. We were privileged to meet with these leaders of the most influential real estate organization of in China; president, Du Juan, the vice president, Peng Xiaoping, and the President of Guangzhou Association of Real Estate Agents, LIAO Junping (Patrick) and their helpful staff. We were asked to respond to the current downturn in the Chinese real estate market and give suggestions as to how we thought they could help with their market recovery.
Sales in the Chinese market have dropped by 30%. Sales were 11,000 units sold per month; they are now 7,000-8,000 units.
CIREAA called upon FIABCI USA to discuss how we, as an industry, weathered the US housing downturn in 2008 and the subsequent years. Our discussion continued in the following days. It was an incredible opportunity to meet with the leaders of the industry on the current issues they face and share ideas and experiences. We were honored to share our trials and successes. China is behind the US in their real estate dealings and hopefully our leadership can assist the Chinese real estate market to the road of recovery.
Homelink Real Estate Agency Co. Ltd.
Homelink began 13 years ago and has grown into the Beijing power house for real estate due to their technology based approach. The company is able to drive massive amounts of their target market to their website and get buyers directly to their properties while representing each transaction. They have 30,000 agents in 1,500 offices making Homelink a strong leader with 50% of the market share in Beijing. Their high tech headquarters spans 3 floors in a very attractive high rise.
We visited various departments and met with Branding Director, Donghua Xu. We discussed ways that we can help each other with referrals. This strong real estate company emphasizes reaching your clients at the earliest possible stage through technology.
The Beijing Business District and Dinner
After a busy day of meetings and exploring the business district of Beijing we enjoyed a round table hot pot dinner. A hot pot consists of an assortment of meats in boiling spiced water. It’s a unique way to cook and flavor your food communally. We each had our own hot pot with all kinds of delicious choices spun in a lazy susan type circle around the center of the table offering many meats and vegetables.
The Silk Road
The Silk Road is known by international tourists for their wide selection of affordable goods and apparel, jewelry and leather goods. The Silk Road is located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing that accommodates over 1,700 retail vendors on 5 floors of tiny shops and galleries. We spent a morning shopping, browsing and negotiating for best prices. If you know me you know I consider shopping a world class sport. We were in the olympics of shopping, not for the faint of heart.
B.A. & 515 J Group
After the Silk Road we met with 515J Group, a real estate service company. 515J Group specializes in selling and apartment rentals they accommodate European and American customers as well as a large market of Chinese. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in Beijing as a subsidiary of B.A. Consulting. We learned how the company operates with a sophisticated system of doing business and discussed the specific markets of interest in the US. I was there to introduce them to the Colorado market and the benefits of Colorado over the east and west coasts cities they are used to marketing.
After our initial introduction we set up a follow up meeting with B.A. &5i5j group in a more intimate setting to hash out what real estate services with their international division might best suit us. Upon arrival we were greeted by Blake and led to their conference room where we chatted until we broke for lunch at the Hong Kong style restaurant in the lobby of their professional building. We dined on Shanghai noodles, pork shumai, shrimp dumplings and garlic cabbage with oyster sauce. We even tried spicy beef stomach.
Returning to their office for a more detailed discussion on working together to create lasting and beneficial relationships between our companies. The meetings went well and we forged a working relationship. Working with a group of smart and business savvy professionals here in Beijing will increase or global exposure. We will continue to solidify our new relationship sharing information on our we our listings and projects of interest. They will feature our properties and businesses for sale on their website and search for Chinese buyers for Colorado. We have built a foundation for future business with these very active hard working brokers.
798 Art Zone
Located in the Dashanzi Zone, an old industrial section of Beijing that has been transformed into an expressive artist zone. The area was named for the 798 factory that operated there in the 1950s, the art zone covers 0.6 square km and is a fascinating place to immerse yourself. I would suggest anyone headed to Beijing may want to spend at least half a day here. It is dedicated to art created by a culture far different from ours in the United States and is full of creative ideas along with great traditional art.This art zone frequently holds international art exhibitions and art events as well as fashion shows. The festival seeks to expand the growing reputation and influence of the art zone and cultivate modern art. They have a lively festival that takes place very year at the end of April to the end of May since 2006. We were exposed to the modern art of China!
CIREAA Power Dinner
FIABCI-US Delegates were invited by CIREAA (Chinese Institute of Real Estate Agents and Appraisers) to further discuss the ways we can help one another. When we arrived at The Grand Mansion we were whisked away to VIP room 202. Ushered up a grand staircase lined with hundreds of buddhas back lit in each of their own displays boxes, our hosts rolled out the red carpet. We sat at a table designed for 20 with rotating center filled with the larges display of red roses I have ever seen. We were treated to different courses and delicacies for some time into the evening. We discussed how China can best move into their next cycle of growth. We suggested developing an MLS system with exclusive rights to sell along with some great technological ideas.
Preston Kuo-Chinese Business Innovator
Dano Sayles introduced us to his friend from California working in China, Preston is the son of a prominent manufacturing family in China with military connections. He focuses on establishing guanxi amount International companies in China. Guanxi is a set of guiding principles for performing business in Asia culture. Best described as the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, guanxi is personified by trust, connections and relationships. Preston’s company is China Foundations. China Foundations has consulted clients such as Walmart and Tesla. Preston specializes in facilitating business ventures in Asia. He is a fascinating young man working in China for 11 years and has lived there for the past 9. Anyone headed to China to do business may want to contact Preston for some intensive training.
After a week of networking and meetings we headed to a highly recommended foot massage spa. We donned ceremonial garb and relaxed in private rooms. Chinese massage involved the use of suction cups and drums to beat the toxins out of the body. Afterwards we selected a restaurant full of happy diners and more individual hot pot delicacies.
I packed my bags after a successful international real estate summit, returning to Aspen to cultivate the market for Chinese buyers.
For interest in international real estate please call Ruth Kruger at 970-404-4000