Cervera brings on new exec to help corner Asian market

Brokerage is banking on weak economic conditions driving buyers to Miami

Jan.January 29, 2016 11:15 AM

In a bid to further tap markets abroad, Cervera Real Estate has hired Frank Peng as its new vice president of Asian business development.

Peng is a veteran of the cruise industry, where he helped leisure giants like Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line expand their businesses as a corporate strategist. Most recently, he started his own firm facilitating Chinese investment with a focus on U.S. real estate.

His new role at Cervera will be much the same: Peng will lean on his existing contacts to bring in business for the brokerage. He’ll also help lay the groundwork for Cervera to open a pipeline to China, making sure that a potential buyer’s cultural needs are met, Jesse Ottley, Cervera’s president for development sales told The Real Deal.

The hire comes amidst economic turmoil in Asia, where a volatile stock market has brought the health of China’s economy into question. That in turn has bred fear of Chinese investment dollars drying up after two years of heavy outflow into U.S. markets like New York City. 

Ottley said the opposite could be true. He said the “true motivators” — security, quality education for their children and economic stability — will continue to drive Chinese buyers into the U.S.

“The second there was a bump in the markets we saw a significant jump in interest,” Ottley said. “For the real buyer, this country represents tremendous stability.”

In Miami, brokerages and developers had turned their attention toward China as a possible replacement for weakening South American markets — though the region has not yet seen the flood of activity that New York has.

Cervera’s Peng hopes to change that. He said in a news release that he’ll work to improve Miami’s popularity among Asian buyers, enough so to rival major markets like San Francisco and New York City.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Jesse Ottley was Cervera’s vice president development sales. His title is president. The article also incorrectly stated Frank Peng helped Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line expand to China. He instead acted as a corporate strategist. 

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