China property

Knight Frank eyes opportunities in cross border trade

Instead of geographical expansion, the new chief executive for Greater China says they will strengthen what they have

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 9:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 12:43pm

Piers Brunner, the new chief executive officer for Greater China of Knight Frank, sets two priorities for his new job : strengthening the company’s existing business, and enlarging its capital markets arena in anticipation of cross-border growth in investment continues.

But geographical expansion is not on the list, at least in the short term.

“If there are any geographical expansion, we will look at South China. But that will be probably further down the priority line,” said Brunner, who joined the company last month.

“We will strengthen what we have. We will build up the core business line, and capital markets is really the area of priorities,” said Brunner. He refers the core business to its agency business, and property valuation business in Hong Kong and China.

In an interview with South China Morning Post in March this year, Knight Frank chairman Alistair Elliot said the group would not end up with lots of offices and thousands of people but with selective offices and quality people.

Knight Frank has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei and Macau.

Piers said the company still looks positively at the outlook of the mainland market.

“There is a big market for us,” said Brunner, adding there is a lot of opportunities for a service provider to provide professional services.

“It is pretty clear that within Knight Frank they have a very good professional services group which includes property valuation in Hong Kong and also in China.”

“The other priority for me is people, we will retain existing people and attract more good people.”

Prior to Knight Frank, Brunner worked for Colliers International for 20 years and resigned from its post of Chief Executive Officer for Colliers Asia last year.

He will also concentrate on referral businesses among the group of companies, in view of growing cross border investment.

According to Knight Frank’s Global Cities 2016 released last month, Chinese outbound investment continues to grow, with a total of US $24 billion in overseas commercial property in the two and a half years to June.

A slowing Chinese economy, together with easing policies on overseas investments has prompted many Chinese investors to seek opportunities abroad.

China’s outward investment trend is expected to continue in the coming years, as there are increasing needs by investors to diversify their portfolio into the relatively stable overseas market, the report said.