International property summit in Hong Kong draws 900 real estate executives
Asia’s premier property leaders’ summit, the annual MIPIM Asia, concluded last week after welcoming more than 900 of the world’s top-level real estate professionals and industry experts.
The annual event hosts influential corporate executives, academic experts and government officials to lead high-level presentations and discussion panels on emerging trends and developments across all sectors of the international property industry. The summit took place 28-29 Nov at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
The Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, presented MIPIM Asia’s welcome address, highlighting the administration’s focus on new growth areas linked to innovation and technology. In her speech, Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam emphasised a number of her administration’s initiatives, including plans to deliver more research and development funding to universities and to nurture local talent, to develop the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park — a science park that will be jointly developed with Shenzhen — and large-scale infrastructure projects in the Greater Bay Area that will further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a super-connector.
Mr Louis Kuijs, Head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, presented the keynote “The economic outlook for Asia in a changing world”. Commenting on the macroeconomic situation in Asia and geopolitical concerns, Mr Kuijs said, “Property remains a popular theme globally given the low interest rate environment that we are still faced with. Naturally, investors will keep a keen eye on US monetary and fiscal policies and closely monitor China’s deleveraging efforts and proposed tightening measures on credit, coupled with the tensions on the Korean peninsula.”
Distinguished industry veterans Mr Vincent Lo, Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Founder and Chairman of the Shui On Group, and Mr Ronnie C Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Properties Ltd, shared their views on both the investment landscape and large-scale projects that are expected to have a major impact on the real estate market in China and across the APAC region.
“The roadmap for the One Belt One Road is very ambitious, and it will be a challenging task for all stakeholders involved, from both the public and private sector,” said Mr Vincent Lo. “I believe that Hong Kong can play an essential role in this process thanks to the city’s expertise in construction and property development, and Hong Kong can definitely serve as a gateway city and commercial platform in the One Belt One Road initiative. I am delighted to see that delegates at MIPIM Asia are keen to explore how they can be involved.”
Mr Ronnie C Chan hosted a retail session on the theme “Excelling in Strengthening Partnerships with Retail Tenants” which stressed the view that retailers need to create an elevated in-store experience to attract consumers. “The conventional relationship model between landlords and tenants is changing,” Mr Ronnie C Chan said. “It’s becoming more important for landlords to develop a direct relationship with consumers, and add a B2C component to the equation.”
In a lively session on urban development, titled “Mayors’ Think Tank: The Attractiveness of Cities,” representatives from Paris, Brisbane and Manchester discussed what makes cities more liveable and viable for both residents and investors, and highlighted the need to strike a balance between community interests and incentive-based regulation schemes. The panel analysed a number of topics revolving around brand-building for cities, soft power strategies and assets, the concerns of offering real estate assets as a form of financing, and smart city development from tech solutions versus strategic long-term planning and growth.
In terms of marketing a city, Mr Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said “You have to be your own harshest critic” and be very clear with potential business partners and investors “about a city’s strengths and weaknesses” when marketing a city and developing its brand. “In Manchester, we commissioned an independent economic review. It told us hard truths; we needed to address significant cultural gaps. That drove us to spur cultural activity; it was an important lesson.” Mr Boylan was part of a panel organised by the UK Department of International Trade that showcased UK investment strengths in the midst of a shifting global economic context.
The global property and real estate industry is also embracing new technology, as evidenced by the companies featured at the MIPIM Startup Competition. Nine companies from around the world were selected as finalists for the Hong Kong competition and pitched their ideas and business models to a jury panel.
The three winners from Hong Kong were Snapflat, an app for landlords and tenants, WeMaintain, a marketplace connecting maintenance mechanics and property and facilities managers, and Workwell, a mobile intranet app for large companies. They will compete in the MIPIM Startup Competition finals in Cannes, France at MIPIM 2018, the world’s leading property market conference.
Concluding MIPIM Asia 2017, Mr Ronan Vaspart, MIPIM Markets Director said, “MIPIM Asia brought hundreds of business executives and industry experts together in a time where the industry is facing unprecedented transformational change. While we have observed that capital outflow from China has driven down yields globally and shored up quality deals, we also see the rise of SE Asia, with several emerging economies attracting a great deal of capital.”