Chinese entrepreneur and American Da Tang Group CEO Shanjie Li believes attracting more real estate investors from his homeland to Miami hinges on several factors, including establishing direct flights from mainland China and creating amenities that specifically cater to Chinese families.
“It’s not just the physical distance between Miami and China,” Li told The Real Deal via a translator. “It’s also about mentally preparing Chinese investors that Miami is worth the long trip.”
Li spoke to TRD Friday morning at the launch event for the Greater Miami chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, held at the InterContinental Miami in downtown Miami. His firm is the U.S. partner of an affiliate of China Communications Construction Company U.S. International, which last year paid $74.7 million for a 2.4 acre Brickell site at 1430 South Miami Avenue.
Today, high net worth individuals in China simply don’t know much about Miami, Li said. He found the city by accident in 2012 when he was in South Florida for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
“I was here for two days,” Li said. “There was not much to do in Fort Lauderdale so I went to South Beach and Brickell. I fell in love with Miami.”
Following the boat show, he traveled from New York City to Miami once a month. Since December, he is in Miami every other week, working to bring more Chinese investors to the city.
In addition to hosting tours to Miami, Li said a Chinese magazine he owns is publishing articles about what the city has to offer high net worth individuals and their families. Next year, American Da Tang will put on a golf tournament for the top 100 CEOs in China and also plans to open a Chinese restaurant and spa.
The goal is to show Chinese investors that Miami, like new cities in China, is a growing dynamic place where they can live as well as invest. “Miami is a passionate city that has the best golf courses, private airports and airplanes, and famous restaurants and malls. And of course, there’s the great weather.”