Guest Column by W. Allen Morris
I first became intrigued with China when my parents took me to Hong Kong at 14 years old. In Hong Kong I saw the strange blend of Chinese and British culture. Over the years I have returned to Hong Kong often as a businessman promoting business and investment in Florida, and I found it to be a bustling, aggressive business center.
It was the only city in the world I knew where people printed their home telephone numbers on their business cards and encouraged you to call them at home on Saturday night or Sunday morning if you had a “deal.” Business moved at an intensity I have never seen anywhere else in the world. It was the best of the East and the best of the West.
I came to believe that Hong Kong is the closest example of what Miami would become, as a link between the rich natural resources of China, with cheap labor connected to the rich capital markets and technical capabilities of the West. In the middle is Hong Kong with a bi-lingual, bi-cultural workforce with great transportation, great air and seaports, efficient telecommunications and international banking, all under the stability of British law. Miami is to North and South America what Hong Kong has been between the East and the West, as the bi-lingual and bi-cultural counterpart linking the rich natural resources and cheap labor of South American with the rich capital markets and technical capabilities of North America. In addition, Miami has the largest international airport in America and the second largest international banking center – under the stability of US law.
This is why the Chinese will quickly understand and appreciate the vibrant potential of Miami.
I had the privilege recently of hosting a delegation of Chinese business leaders, along with a highly respected economist, in our home. When I explained the geographical and economic comparisons of Hong Kong to Miami, he immediately understood why Miami is of such strategic importance. On my return visit to Beijing a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting as a guest in his home and saw more of the world from his point of view. Until you have visited China, it’s impossible to conceive the massive scope of the country and its population. Everything is of a grand scale beyond anything we can imagine in the United States. The massive development projects and transportation systems are apparent when standing atop the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center looking out over the city of 25 million people. It is mindboggling.
China has the capital, capacity and the capability to invest and develop in the west on a massive scale. As China currently struggles with its slowing economy, enforcing their war on corruption, and the devaluation of the yuan, investors see this as the most urgent time to invest in the West. Chinese companies and individuals are increasing, not decreasing, their investments in the Western Hemisphere – and especially in Florida, and Miami.
The recent announcement of the China City Construction Corporation to build the tallest tower in Miami at 1,069 feet comes on the heels of Hong Kong-based Swire Properties approval to build One Brickell City Centre at 1,049 feet. Swire is still completing construction of their massive, first-class Brickell City Center retail, office and condo project. This is a harbinger of things to come, with the largest projects in our city being built by Chinese developers attracting more Chinese visitors, residents and investors.
As South American investment has temporarily slowed due to the political and economic problems, we can expect to see them replaced by investment from China for both condominiums, homes, businesses and investment real estate, because the Chinese will quickly understand what makes Miami tick.
So practice using your chopsticks or learning Mandarin!
Article in South Florida Busines Journal
W. Allen Morris is chairman and CEO of The Allen Morris Co., one of the largest real estate firms in the southeastern U.S., with offices in Miami, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Jacksonville and Atlanta.
For investment properties in Miami, please contact The Allen Morris Company at (305) 443-1000 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.