With no signs of a slowdown in foreign investor interest in all types of Australian property assets, particularly those investors from China, brokers are being urged to target this sector as a means of capitalising on the demand for their services
According to Colliers International, investment in Australian commercial property was expected to reach $35 billion in 2015 – around half of which was from foreign investors, with a significant proportion coming from China.
The Adviser has previously reported that third-party veteran, Renato Cenedese, is urging brokers to employ Chinese-speaking staff to capitalise on the demand for their services.
“In this particular [property] cycle, what we can’t compare with … previous cycles is the Chinese factor,” says Mr Cenedese, managing director of Assured Financial Services.
“This is an unknown quantity – a totally unknown quantity … you’ve got to have a Chinese-speaking person in there.”
Yet as anyone who is already engaged with foreign investors will know, it is not simply good enough to know the language, you need to understand the way they do business.
In 2015, The Adviser reported on Kaplan Professional’s partnership with China Ready and Accredited – an education program with the aim of providing brokers, and other professionals with formal and globally recognised accreditation in Chinese business customs.
“We’re starting to see some take-up and a lot more enquiry from brokers. In the last couple of months, we’ve had a couple of hundred brokers [sign up], which is promising,” says Brian Knight, CEO at Kaplan Professional.
The China Ready and Accredited program is available online and provides 12 modules that demonstrate how to increase your share of Chinese business.
Mr Knight says the feedback provided from brokers who have completed the program is positive, with many feeling “much more confident and much more positive in their ability to be able to communicate with investors and Chinese people more generally”.
“I think the message we want to get out is this is a really big opportunity,” he adds.
“Chinese investors look for people who can understand them.
“The feedback from the Chinese side is that they are keen to see people they do business with in Australia having taken the time to do programs like this and get the accreditation they can get.”
Looking ahead, Mr Knight says there are talks underway to expand the program to other cultures.
“For example, we’re exploring if we could do one with the Middle East or northern Africa… We think there’s a real opportunity for us to continue to do this,” he says.
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