China's massive building boom betrays an interest in everything Western. You can see this in the design of homes and buildings and in the names such as “Orange County” and “Long Island Villa” that Chinese developers have given to new communities. Now the Chinese are turning to the United States for help marketing and managing multifamily properties. Pinnacle, a Seattle-based management services company, recently announced the opening of a five-person office in Beijing. An 806-unit luxury high-rise condo called Chateau Glory will be the first project of its type to benefit from Pinnacle's American approach to property management.
Pinnacle CEO Stan Harrelson believes the company's experience makes it well-positioned for the move into China. “We have long been doing business with companies all over Asia,” he says. While Western-style customer service is still a foreign concept to most Chinese companies as more Chinese travel overseas, the approach may prove invaluable in this evolving market. “In China, the multifamily real estate management industry is like it was in the United States 20 or 30 years ago,” says Harrelson. “The developers we're working with value the planning and care we put into marketing, financial reporting and accountability.”
Pinnacle already has plans to open a second office in Shanghai, and Harrelson expects “to be managing in excess of 25,000 units in the next two or three years.” He bases that estimate on the brisk rate of apartment construction and on Pinnacle's expanding relationships with Chinese developers. “What initially started as a single opportunity with one major developer is blossoming into relationships with numerous developers.”