Jim Yip thinks the best decision he has ever made so far in his life was his career switch from Hong Kong to China in 2004. Jim, managing director and co-head of DTZ’s China investment, leads one of the largest investment sales teams in this country and has completed real estate investment sales of over US$10bn in the last decade.
“I was just lucky, coming to the right market at the right time,” says Jim, “The China real estate investment market was just emerging in 2004 as foreign real estate funds started to buy commercial assets in China.”
Born in Guangzhou and moved with his family to Hong Kong at age 13, Jim completed his undergraduate degree in real estate in UK and worked in Hong Kong property market for 10 years.
“After my graduation, I actually looked for a job opportunity in mainland China as I saw huge growth potential in Chinese property market, but unfortunately my first job with Li Ka-Shing’s property arm - Hutchison Whampoa Properties - mainly dealt with Hong Kong properties,” says Jim.
In the late 1990s, the Hong Kong real estate market went like a roller-coaster ride. Property prices surged to record highs before the 1997 Hand-over and then were hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis, with prices tumbling to a scary low of 50-70% off the peak.
“Many home owners were stuck with negative equity and this was the darkest period of Hong Kong property market,” says Jim, “It was also the time I decided to move to China market,”
Jim Yip joined DTZ’s Shanghai office in 2004. A global leader in property services, DTZ provides occupiers and investors around the world with industry leading, end-to-end property solutions in China since its operation started in 1993.
Over the last ten years China’s commercial real estate market has developed at a breathtaking pace. Jim’s bet on China has paid off.
“Looking back I think the decision of coming to Shanghai was right,” says Jim, “10 years ago, China’s real estate market was driven by foreign players, but these days Chinese capitals are driving the global real estate market.”
Jim believes China’s commercial real estate market will continue to grow, citing that many of the cities’ planning and property facilities still have a lot of room to improve.
Jim recently decided to go back to school and study in the Dual Degree Finance MBA program jointly developed by Tsinghua University’s PBC School of Finance and Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
“With Internet finance developing rapidly, the convergence of real estate market and capital market will be the future force to shape the growth. So I decided to come here to learn more,” he muses, a witty spark twinkling in his eyes, “This will prove to be another smart decision.”