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1st China-focused US real estate group targets the market

By Wu Xia and Li Mu (People's Daily Online)

13:50, July 30, 2012

Skip Whitney receives the interview by People’s Daily Online. (People’s Daily Online/Li Mu)

San Francisco, July 29(People’s Daily Online)-- Recently, Kidder Matthews, a well-known commercial real estate firm in California, announced that a Chinese clients-focused group, or the China Services Group (CSG), was officially established. It is the only China-focused cross-Pacific real estate group in the United States.

Composed of real estate professionals fluent in English and Mandarin, CSG is focusing on serving Chinese investment enterprises to the United States.

The founder of this special group, Skip Whitney, a businessman working in the China space for 30 years, was interviewed by reporters from People’s Daily Online in his Kidder Matthews office in San Francisco’s financial district. He has been serving the various needs of Chinese business people for over 30 years.

According to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, in 2011, Sino-U.S. bilateral trade volume amounted to 446.7 billion USD, representing a 15.9 percent increase over 2010. Chinese enterprises directly invested 6 billion USD in the U.S. market. As one of the premier overseas investment destinations for Chinese enterprises, the U.S. market continues to witness increasingly strong Chinese investment and competition.

As an experienced real estate expert, Skip first visited China 30 years ago and has been engaging in China-related work since then. He is also a co-founder of ChinaSF, the Bay Area Council China Initiative and other institutions. Earlier this year, Skip was entrusted with setting up the trans-Pacific portal for the Kidder Matthews China Services Group. With over $1.9 billion in annual business and over 22 million square feet in its portfolio, Kidder Matthews is one of the biggest commercial property agents on the West Coast.

The purpose of setting up CSG, according to Skip, is to meet the “increasing flow -- both business-wise and personal-wise -- between China and US.” CSG offers advisory, brokerage and property management services to Chinese companies looking to invest in the United States, and vice-versa.

The U.S. market is the world's largest and most complex. For those Chinese companies new to the U.S, “they will encounter a large number of difficulties, like language and communication barriers,” says Skip. “Many will be inexperienced in American law and also differences in the market, different SINO-US national conditions and the East-West cultural divergence.” As a veteran of many cross-Pacific business deals, Skip has a thorough understanding of the challenges with which many Chinese enterprises will be faced.

Utilizing the expertise and connections brought to the table by Skip and Kidder Matthews, in the last two years a dozen Chinese companies have found superior Bay Area space. Among those success stories: GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, Ltd., and InnoSpring, the first US/Chinese technology incubator in Silicon Valley.

“After my 30 years of experience in China, I am happy to say Kidder Mathews’ China Services Group is a reflection of doing business between US and China,” said Skip.

Part of the successful team overseen by Skip is the Philadelphia-based real estate brokerage, Binswanger in addition to Synergis, a property management firm proud of its listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
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