Chinese now top list of overseas buyers in Manhattan

Firms going above and beyond to accommodate clients from the People's Republic

From left: Theresa Wu and Nikki Field
From left: Theresa Wu and Nikki Field

Chinese buyers now represent the largest group of foreign buyers snapping up Manhattan properties, and brokerage firms are tailoring their services to accommodate the big spenders.

New York brokers increasingly turned to high-net-worth Chinese clients in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when business began to dry up locally. But connecting with would-be buyers from the world’s most populated country involved a lot of work, attending classes, learning the language and adapting to Chinese business practices and culture.

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“We had to change our skill sets totally,” Nikki Field, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty, told China Daily. “Business styles to the Asians are quite different from the Western styles. We had to learn, as best we could, how to understand the culture and protocol of doing business with Asians.”

Chinese buyers are now outspending Russians, Europeans and South Americans, the news site reported, and so some brokerages are now tailoring their website to the language and even hiring brokers who already have a handle on the culture and language.

“For me, it’s not just about the language really but the culture,” Theresa Wu, a broker with Town Residential, told China Daily. “There’s a difference between just being able to speak the languages and then actually being able to translate cultural nuances. I think knowing the culture is a bigger advantage, on both the Chinese and the American side.”  [China Daily] – Kerry Barger