HONG KONG-The race to embrace professionals who can bolster its expansion across China has resulted in the appointment of three senior executives by CB Richard Ellis. The global real estate services firm has a 30-year track record in the country, but China’s economic boom and accelerated urbanization are creating fresh opportunities requiring top talent to pursue going forward.

“As we grow our business across Greater China, we will continue to look to differentiate ourselves via the recruitment and retention of the best human capital available,” says Chris Brooke, CBRE’s regional president and CEO. The executives welcomed in the latest round are “capable and experienced individuals” who will bolster the 12 existing Chinese offices, he says, “whilst at the same time continuing to expand our geographic presence.” CBRE is already in markets like Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai and is formulating a plan to seek out new venues over in near term.

The three hires include Greg Penn, named a senior managing director. He will oversee investment sales. An explosion of cross-border capital has resulted in significant opportunities to service buyers and sellers of commercial properties in China while homegrown capital also is becoming more prevalent in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Rules making it easier for Chinese investors in Hong Kong are on the horizon, for example, and the country’s burgeoning wealth is further increasing the prospect of sales as individuals seek to place capital. Penn also will serve on the Greater China Strategic Group.

Martin Woods has been named executive director for CBRE projects. Building consultancy and project management advice also are in demand throughout China, with certain areas including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan brimming over in construction activity. CBRE plans to pay special attention to corporate tenants, a focus personalized by hiring Jane Martin as senior director for CBRE consulting. That platform also is poised for growth thanks to the flood of multi-national companies appearing on China’s shores. Martin will lead the campaign to service existing and new clients as their needs increase.

The breadth of the appointments demonstrates CBRE’s intent on covering all aspects of China’s commercial real estate sector, Brooke says, adding its part of a multi-pronged campaign to become a market leader in the country. He says CBRE is undertaking extensive training and development of its current staff to strengthen their market understanding and aligning itself with leading Chinese and UK universities “to develop a business model which combines the best of local market knowledge and expertise with international best practice.” Los Angeles-based CBRE has been in Hong Kong since 1978 and moved to the mainland in 1988 after being appointed leasing consultant for the China World Trade Center in Beijing in 1988.

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