Knight Frank has opened a China Desk to support increasing interest from Greater China clients and companies looking to invest in the UK. The desk will co-ordinate inbound cross border activity between Greater China and the UK.
Austin Xu has been appointed to lead the desk. He is the president of the Britain China Real Estate Association and the Cambridge University Real Estate Finance Asian Alumni society. Both societies aim to facilitate and reinforce the connections between the UK and China, bringing together top-tier Chinese and British real estate companies and investors with a global presence.
In 2018, Greater China continued to be the world’s largest deployers of real estate investment in the Central London office market, with £3.48 billion invested.
Andrew Sim, Head of Global Capital Markets, said: “Knight Frank have a strong pedigree in helping Greater China investors with expanding their international real estate interests. The China Desk enables us to build upon this track record by providing clients with dedicated access to the latest market insights in relation to the opportunities which exist in the UK and Continental Europe.”
Mr Xu will be responsible for developing and managing Chinese client relationships with a primary focus on Central London capital markets. This new role will involve him identifying potential investors, aiding on sales instructions, providing consultancy on existing property investments and developments as well as supporting Chinese business requirements in the UK.
Austin joins from Deloitte LLP where he has spent the last six years working in their commercial development and family office teams. Austin is a Cambridge real estate graduate. Based in London, Mr Xu will take responsibility for co-ordinating inbound business from clients based in Greater China.
Oliver Sadler, Partner, Central London Capital Markets, said: “The appointment of Austin is an exciting progression to the service that Knight Frank already provides to mainland China and Hong Kong clients around the world. He has a wealth of existing contacts as well as a detailed knowledge of the Central London market and will be a fantastic asset to both the Knight Frank team and our clients.”
Commenting on his new role Mr Xu said: “The China desk will allow us to streamline the cross-border process for our clients by acting as a local single point of contact for their needs.”
He continued: “The new initiative enables us to provide China-based companies looking to enter the UK with the ability to access the Knight Frank network through a simple and efficient channel of communication. In 2018 Knight Frank advised on a number of significant cross-border transactions in London, however, these represent just the tip of the iceberg, as companies headquartered in the world’s second largest economy increasingly seek better international representation. This will allow us to assist our clients to move between continents in a way that is both efficient and convenient as well as to help those who have already invested into the UK with managing their investments.”