Bruce Mosler and Richard Middleton discuss China's Real Estate Sector
2 Aug, 2005, Beijing
Article excerpt reprinted with permission of Beijing Review
Eyes on the Future
Market leader has confidence in China's real estate sector
The word is out; property investors are spreading their wings in the wake of the less than impressive returns in the U.S. real estate market. It comes as no surprise that those wings are beating toward the emerging markets of China and India, where the opportunity to grab market share and diversify business lines looms large.
Amid the fierce competition, Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately held real estate services firm, is planning to increase its offices in China from the present three over the next 12 months, among other efforts to meet local opportunities.
Leading their charge and epitomizing the company's high-energy, aggressive and passionate approach is Bruce Mosler, President and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield.
In an interview with BEIJING REVIEW reporter Ding Wenlei, Mosler, along with Richard Middleton, Managing Director of the company's Greater China operation, shed a great deal of light on his vision for the firm's future, the Chinese market as well as the industry, during his third trip to China in July.
BEIJING REVIEW: As a company that has 175 offices in 50 countries worldwide, what is your foremost global challenge at present?
BRUCE MOSLER: It's safe to say that there are a number of challenges for a global company. It is my prediction that there will be fewer global players in the next two years. One of my challenges is to make sure that Cushman & Wakefield continues to be Cushman & Wakefield in the future. I also expect extraordinary opportunities for acquisition, in America, Europe and Asia. We will be aggressive, pursuing strategic opportunities. Another challenge is that we continue to maintain Cushman &Wakefield's unique culture in the future, which has been one important component of our success. For a global company, another challenge is to provide a consistency of services, office-to-office, continent-to-continent and client-by-client. You have to be sensitive to local clients and recruit and retain local talent, in order to be a successful global company. Those are some of the challenges I'm thinking about.
What are your guidelines in planning any acquisition?
MOSLER: Certainly, one of the things we discussed at the board meeting today is our need to grow organically and acquisitively in Asia. We will have acquisitions provided they fit the culture and make sense in the long term, because we are not going to be opportunists and we are going to be very strategic.
What are the efforts you have already made to broaden the scope of operations, as the company is known to be diversifying?
MOSLER: One of the things that we look at is where we are today, and where we need to enhance our skills. If we look at the major service lines in Cushman & Wakefield, it will be brokerage, investment sales, asset management, client solutions, and appraisal where we are in a very strong industry position. We are now moving into new directions like mortgage brokerage and also multi-family housing, as well as retail. Major diversification for us in the future is that we will be moving toward advising clients, and perhaps developing a fund management capability in Asia. Geographically, we expect Asia, in three years or less, to be generating about 25 percent of all Cushman & Wakefield's revenues, up from 10 percent. That is a significant commitment, and that means we will be looking to do half a billion dollars revenue in Asia in the future.
So I guess diversification comes in two ways, product lines and also geographically, to make even greater commitments to what we are in Asia today. Even though in China, we have three core cities now--Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. In the next year or two, we expect to have at least five cities.
What are your guarantees to provide quality of such diversified services?
MOSLER: The most important thing is we demand that our business leaders around the world maintain consistency. More than anything else, within the Cushman & Wakefield culture, is the value system. We expect the people that we bring in to the system, whether it is an individual or a company, to abide by the Cushman & Wakefield value system. We strive to ensure that every client we have in New York, for example, is able to receive the same quality of services in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai or anywhere around the world. We spend a lot of time training our staff.
What is the goal of this trip to Beijing?
MOSLER: First, I really do believe that as a leader of a business, you must inspire people by speaking to them in person and express to them your vision for the company. My first goal is to let our people know the direction we are taking, three and five years out. The second objective is that I always meet our clients, because the clients are the backbone of Cushman & Wakefield. I also want to convey to people, when I meet with them, my passion for the business and that it is important to give 100 percent of your effort every day to both the company and the community. It is part of the company's credo--you must give back to the community. That is what I do and what I live by, and what I want each of our people to do.
It was reported that Cushman & Wakefield provides equal opportunities of jobs for female and male jobseekers worldwide. What is the situation in China?
MOSLER: I think it's a challenge around the world, and it's still a challenge in the United States, to ensure we are leading the industry in providing women and minorities all the opportunities that we can, that we not only lead the property industry but all industries in this aspect. How we address that in China is not different from the way we address it in the United States. We have to look for people who are up to the challenge, qualified and can be part of Cushman & Wakefield's future, particularly when we are in a business on a global basis. It is very important to do that because more and more women and minorities are becoming CEOs of their own businesses. So if we want to continue our market dominance, then we have to reflect this in our leadership.
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