Australia & New Zealand Business Report 2017

Presented by

Discovery Reports

Black Diamondz expands empire with premium services for wealthy Chinese property buyers

Specialising in high-end and luxury residential property sales, investment strategies and business solutions, Black Diamondz is an award-winning, record-breaking and market-leading Sydney-based real estate firm

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 5:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 5:15pm

In an era of soaring Chinese interest in Australian real estate, no other realtor has earned as impeccable a reputation than posh property icon Monika Tu.

With an annual turnover exceeding A$200 million (HK$1.24 billion), the undisputed queen of Sino-Australian luxury real estate brokerage and founder of Black Diamondz Property Concierge – one of Sydney’s most highly regarded aspirational real estate and lifestyle companies – is a true businesswoman.

Her unsurpassed talent for cultivating trust-based relationships with China’s ultra- and high-net-worth (UHNW/HNW) markets has yielded attractive prospects for Black Diamondz’s business expansion.

Born in China, Tu speaks four languages and holds multiple Sydney real estate sales records focusing on properties with price tags ranging from A$5 million to A$50 million. She founded Black Diamondz in 2009.

Specialising in high-end and luxury residential property sales, investment strategies and business solutions, Black Diamondz is an award-winning, record-breaking and market-leading Sydney-based real estate firm.

The company launched two businesses last year – a recruitment concierge focused on placing bilingual talents within Australian companies and a marketing, public relations (PR) and events division dedicated to creating luxury events for the UHNW market.

The strategic move leverages on Black Diamondz’s competitive advantage – a global presence through strong affiliations and partnerships across China, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Combined with strong local expertise, it bridges the market and cultural gap ever closer between east and west.

“Property will always be our No 1 product and the core of our business, but the key to our success besides our leading industry expertise is the extra layer of services we provide our growing network of buyers, vendors and clients,” Tu says.

“The other businesses we’ve launched are circularly integrated and feed into our main real estate client demographic of 45- to 65-year-old wealthy property buyers from China, successful business owners who come to Australia for opportunities that will benefit both themselves and the second generation as well – their families and children.”

Monika Tu: an East-meets-West success story

A migrant herself, Tu left Shenzhen in Southern China’s Guangdong province nearly 30 years ago at the age of 25 to study international trade at Melbourne’s RMIT University.

Demonstrating an early knack for identifying and developing market opportunities, she worked hard at sowing the seeds of her present successes – acquiring an in-depth understanding of the Australian way of life which she now passes on to Black Diamondz clients.

After moving to Sydney in 1992 shortly after gaining her citizenship, Tu’s first entrepreneurial triumph saw the transformation of a small corner computer shop into a multinational company. Called Laser Corp, the company manufactures a vast range of electronic products and has offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and mainland China.

With the same entrepreneurial eye for opportunity and visionary drive, Tu has succeeded in positioning Black Diamondz as the real estate agency redefining the Australian property landscape – connecting China’s rapidly growing segment of wealthy global real estate buyers with Australia’s best upmarket properties.

“I’m not just a dreamer – I’m a doer,” Tu says. “There are plenty of good opportunities out there. Understanding the Eastern and Western mentality gives us an international approach with a very local expertise that’s gotten us where we are today. We’re the trusted adviser to the clients we cater to, and it’s up to us to help give them the best service at the best price.”

High-carat client service

Whether it’s arranging an afternoon soiree at a A$28 million Vaucluse House mansion for guests to sip on Dom Pérignon while listening to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, holding a private party at Gucci’s flagship store, or organising intimate meetings with BlackRock hedge fund managers, Tu goes the extra mile to provide an immersive and exclusive experience for Black Diamondz’s HNW and UHNW Chinese clientele.

The company’s global network of registered buyers provides its most highly targeted, cost-effective marketing tool. International roadshows are regularly conducted to showcase exclusive properties to HNW and UHNW individuals.

China’s 1.34 million HNW individuals – defined as people with at least US$1.5 million in assets – and 568 billionaires have a combined net worth equivalent to Australia’s gross domestic product. Of the total A$247 billion of foreign investments approved in Australia in the year up to June 2016, A$31.9 billion came from Chinese investments in real estate.

Long-term capital growth, rental yields, the freedom of owning a property title and Australia’s established Chinese community, stable financial institutions, high living standards and educational advantages are the main factors driving China’s mounting demand for Australian real estate – which Tu and Black Diamondz are at the forefront of addressing.

“We go the extra mile to service our clients’ lifestyle and business needs and ease them into the Australian context with open arms based on trust,” Tu says. “It’s all about building strong relationships. It’s really rewarding to know that our clients come back to us for advice – whether it’s about fitting in and finding their place in the Australian community, finding charitable and philanthropic opportunities or investment prospects.”

Bringing together the very best of Chinese opulence and the finest Western luxury lifestyle brands for its Lunar New Year celebration this year, Black Diamondz pulled out all the stops for its roster of high-profile guests.

Aerial silk acrobats performed feats of athletic elegance on suspended fabrics while 8-year-old Chinese child prodigies performed the European classical greats on matching Steinway grand pianos. Guests in glittering gowns and tuxedos sipped on Moët & Chandon champagne, leisurely gliding along a 120-metre custom red carpet crowned by a grand floral archway and lined with luxury cars on each side.

Fashion models in couture graced 8-metre-tall replicas of the Gold Coast’s latest 6-star development JEWEL as guests enjoyed the A$10 million try-on station of Bulgari jewels, bottles of top-tier Hennessy cognacs and two custom BMW i8s covered in gold. It was truly an evening of elegance as Tu, clad in a golden satin gown, addressed the crowd.

“At Black Diamondz, we believe that art makes a house a home. Fashion makes an evening an event. Beauty makes life a lifestyle,” Tu says.

Diamond dwellings

From pristine luxury abodes with scenic elevated views of the city; sprawling rustic estates with tennis courts, heated swimming pools and manicured gardens; to palatial mansions with private gyms and saunas, wine cellars and balconies overlooking Sydney’s magnificent harbours, one look at Black Diamondz’ portfolio of properties speaks of its industry-leading expertise in selling the best of prime Australian real estate.

For the cashed-up and discriminating Chinese property buyer, the company offers a highly specialised and bespoke sales service – with the distinct industry edge of identifying and developing the latest property hotspots.

While Sydney’s eastern suburbs such as Rose Bay and Bellevue Hill are go-to picks for HNW Chinese, Tu lists properties in Upper North Shore suburbs such as Pymble, Killara and Turramurra within the A$5 million to A$8 million bracket for their proximity to good schools.

For elite Chinese customers looking for Vaucluse-style mansions with waterfront views, Tu points to the underestimated North Shore suburbs of Castlecrag and Cammeray as highly desirable areas where the Black Diamondz marketing team has been making some record-breaking sales.

“Monika’s highly respected position in the business community has given Black Diamondz an untarnished reputation – which is very difficult to find among many Chinese companies,” says Adam Williams, Black Diamondz associate director of marketing and host of its many high-profile events. “Because of that, a lot of business opportunities are accessible to us.”

The best is yet to come

Beyond its reputation as the agency-of-choice for off-market, ultra-high-end, luxury and prestige Sydney properties, Black Diamondz continues to climb new heights with Tu as the visionary behind its successes. The company was recognised as the Australian winner of the International Success Story Award – granted by the Federation of Hong Kong Business Association – and Tu was formally recognised at Parliament House as one of the top 10 Chinese entrepreneurs in Australia.

With her talent for facilitating strategic lifestyle, business and philanthropic relationships for her international clientele, Tu is excited about the company’s initiatives in recruitment and marketing, PR and events. Apart from founding Club Diamondz – an elite members-only association offering exclusive luxury events with partners such as Vogue Australia, GQ, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Dior and Gucci, and ultra-personalised customer service – the company has engagements planned with China Fashion Week in October and the Beijing Opera.

“We’ve been very successful in the ultra-net market and our new divisions just evolved naturally,” Tu says. “I think our property, marketing and recruitment divisions integrate very well to help our clients. Dad needs to buy a house, mom needs to shop and the oldest child needs a job and the right connections.”

Tu has also revealed that Black Diamondz is looking at venturing into the health and education markets after speaking to clients interested in stem cell treatments, anti-ageing products, health retreats and even establishing universities.

“Eighty per cent of our buyers have developer backgrounds in China,” Tu says. “They’re looking at different revenue streams for the future generation or ways to diversify their investments. We’re really a figurehead between both East and West cultures – in business, in philanthropy, in property and in recruitment. It’s a very exciting time.”