Searching for ways to grow business in Asia, the Asia Pacific division of Cushman & Wakefield has partnered with PREMAS International in Shanghai.

According to John Coppedge, C&W executive vice president of international operations in New York, the firm is heavily involved in the brokerage side of the business in China. C&W wanted a joint venture partner that had acumen in additional services and a complementary company culture. PREMAS International, a subsidiary of asset and property manager CapitalLand, gives C&W a global commercial real estate services firm with 147 offices in 49 countries. With over 25 million sq. ft. of real estate, CapitalLand is the largest property and asset manager in Singapore.

"We wanted to bring our asset management to China, but you need a certain base," Coppedge says. The combination of PREMAS’ asset and property management and C&W’s brokerage business, the new company — Cushman & Wakefield PREMAS — offers clients an integrated approach to the real estate services business in China.

The new company will operate under one set of standards, with one identity and focus, explains Coppedge. The joint venture will be fully operational and will share revenues after the Chinese government grants approval for the partnership.

Understanding the Chinese culture and government regulations is easier with a local partner, says Coppedge. Having a local partner will help the company understand local customs and develop more local Asian companies as clients. As both companies have been approved and operating in China — C&W for five years and PREMAS for 25 years — he expects the approval process to happen without any hiccups.

While waiting on approval, the firms will spread the news of its expanded line of services, which will be available to Chinese companies and multinational companies alike. To date, multinational companies have comprised around 95% of C&W’s customers. "It brings together the best of both worlds with PREMAS’ local Asian expertise and our multinational experience," Coppedge says.

Even with the new company and a local Asian partner, operating in China brings its own set of issues. "There are many challenges here from the lease laws to property rights to currency to the ethics of how you run your business," Coppedge says. C&W PREMAS is willing to face these issues as a united front, because China has been relatively immune to the global recession, exhibiting 7% to 8% GDP growth, he says.

"There seems to be so much growth in China. It’ll slow down some I’m sure, but I don’t think it’ll be to the extent that we’ve seen in the U.S., or in Hong Kong and Singapore," Coppedge says.

The combination of PREMAS’ 175 employees and C&W’s 50 employees will make the company 225 employees strong.

The partnership eventually could extend to C&W’s two other primary Asian markets, South Korea and India. "We want to get China bedded down," Coppedge says. "But it’s the intention of both parties to expand this relationship throughout Asia."