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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Gillard's Asian foresight already bearing fruit

A little under a year ago it was reported that Julia Gillard's Asian Century white paper would come out, and it did. Australian businesses took a while to acknowledge the release but they have since responded to the challenge in multiple ways. In the real estate sector, for example, it is clear that local businesses are adapting to the new climate by offering the types of services - including those available through Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking employees - that Chinese people want. One of these businesspeople is Monika Tu (pictured, right), who offers a range of services to cashed-up Chinese property buyers so that they can start to integrate into Australian society.

Real estate is particularly potent as a lure for Chinese investors because in Chinese cities freehold property is not available: you only get a long lease on Beijing apartments, for example, which means that the likelihood of passing the investment on to your children is limited by law. And if anything is important to Chinese people it is their family. See how many Chinese parents are buying properties in Sydney so that their children have somewhere to live while they study at one of our excellent universities; one such parent recently shelled out $17 million for a penthouse located on Hyde Park in Sydney.

Marquee properties valued in the tens of millions are selling to Chinese buyers, but there's also plenty of action in other specific locations in Australia's cities - Eastwood, Campsie, Chatswood, Mascot - where Chinese people like to live. Companies in Australia who want to tap into the new capital flows have such options as employing Chinese graduates locally to help them acclimatise to the new ways of doing business. But the real-estate business has been changing for years in actual fact. Just visit the streets in Sydney's southern CBD and see how many Chinese real estate agents are doing business there; the reality is striking.

The amount of prescience inherent in Gillard's Asian push is undeniable, although business was loathe to publicly get behind the initiative due to differences of opinion elsewhere in the domain of policies and ideas. But whether or not they acknowledge Gillard's contribution to the new paradigm there are lots of good businesses, like McGrath Estate Agents, who are setting up a China desk to effectively manage the transition. If there are unique opportunities in real estate there must also be similar openings in other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, banking, insurance, financial advice, food production ... Whichever business you work in you can expand your sales strategy to profit from Australia's special place in Asia.

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