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MAY 2013 |www.opp-connect.com WORDS |Mina Mu, editor OPP China


The Road to Beijing Y


ears ago, I attended the real estate show in Dalian, my hometown in China. I


admired how busy the show was, how professional the exhibitors seemed and the different types of shell schemes featured. This may be one of the reasons I chose to study International Events Management. However, back then, I couldn’t possibly have imagined that, several years later, I would be one of those exhibitors!


I was very lucky that, for the 2013 International Property Expo in Beijing, I could represent OPP as an exhibitor and assist one of OPP’s long-term clients, Garrett Kenny, from Feltrim Developments, during part of my most recent journey to China.


Compared with the real estate show I went to several years ago, this Beijing show was massive - massive also compared with the exhibitions held in other regions of China and compared with the same show last year. On the opening day of the four-day event there were a record 45,000 visitors, beating last years third-day high of 42,000. Taking the event as a whole, the number of overseas exhibitors increased 25% this year. There were 210 real estate and immigration specialists from 25 different countries.


What is interesting is that, apart from the popular exhibitor countries such as the US, UK & Australia, properties from countries such as Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and so on were also proactively trying to win a share in the huge Chinese market.


This trend has been going on for a Speak easy | Mina translates Garrett Kenny’s words for Chinese speakers at the conference


while but it has accelerated recently as some European countries have promoted new policies on immigration by allowing settlement visas based on investing in real estate. At the same time, other countries try to attract Chinese investors by promoting properties that are in a natural and unpolluted environment - much valued in China where pollution in the major cities is a massive problem - and very suitable for holidays, retirement or investment.


By attending the show myself, I


learned a lot. The busy time started from the fi rst moment we arrived in Beijing. By quickly adjusting to the time difference, I involved myself with preparing for the show on our second day in Beijing: checking on the stands, talking


to the organisers about the decoration of the shell schemes, changing and fi nally checking the sequence of the panels. However, the show had not yet


started. When it did start, I was shocked. A constant stream of visitors burst into the exhibition centre at


“The show was busy... like a major football ground with tens of thousands of people”


9 o’clock on the very fi rst day. It remained busy for the whole four days. By busy, I don’t mean busy like A Place in the Sun Live or Inman New York is busy. I mean busy like a major football ground: tens of thousands of people. Of course, the show is more than just talking to the visitors; it is also about networking with your peers, such as developers, agents and also the main media.


At the same time, seminars about


different topics were taking place, Topics such as the comparison of the investment opportunities in different countries and immigration projects in different countries also run through the whole show.


It’s showtime! | with David Wei of Beijing Jia Hua Four Seasons


Garrett Kenny gave his own opinion on the show: ‘I attended the Beijing show for the fi rst time in 2012. It introduced me to quality agents who, in turn, delivered sales of my Park Lake


product to Chinese buyers. So going back to the Beijing show was defi nitely on my agenda this year. “I was very pleased with the show in


2013. From Thursday morning to the close on Sunday, my two translators and I were talking, non-stop, to potential clients. We were exceptionally busy. I am already planning our next trip to China.” As the translator, I attended the seminar presented by Garrett Kenny (who is the CEO of EB5 Select) and an interview regarding the updated US real estate investment market and the very popular US immigration projects. It was clear that there was a misunderstanding in the Chinese market. Many investors still thought that immigration could be achieved by purchasing properties. They were surprised to hear that it is no longer possible to get a Permanent Residency by just investing in a property and that the EB5 Immigration Program, as a risk investment, is the easiest way for public to get a Permanent Residency. This served to demonstrate the importance of the seminar programme.


By the end of the show I was tired but convinced that 30% of the people we spoke to had a serious and immediate intention of buying overseas, another 40% were seriously planning to do so at some time in the mid-term future and most of the other 30% were at least actively considering the opportunity to do so. That’s an awful lot of buyers!


BEIJING


WISH YOU WERE THERE? | 39


We all know that China is a huge country with a huge population and a huge appetite for buying real estate overseas and migration. So it stands to sense that the International Property Expo in Beijing should be a huge event. How huge? How many attended? How many were really interested in buying?


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