A leading real estate broker believes China’s importance to the Bahamian economy cannot be “overstated”, having discussed this nation’s growing Far East ties with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Less than a month after giving a presentation to 5,000 high net worth attendees at Shanghai’s Luxury Property Showcase, Mario Carey, MCR Realty’s head, and a successful Chinese entrepreneur called on Fred Mitchell to discuss the Bahamas’ links to the Asian market.
Also at the January 3 meeting was Daniel Lowe, the MCR Chinese consultant resident in Bejing, where he is studying international trade. Mr Lowe, who is proficient in Mandarin, was a key facilitator for Mr Carey’s presentation in December.
“We were very pleased that the Minister was so receptive to the visit,” said Mr Carey, “but even more pleased to hear him declare that we cannot overstate the importance the fast-growing Chinese market will have on the Bahamian economy in years to come.”
Mr Carey said strengthening Sino-Bahamian ties will not only help this nation’s number one economic driver, tourism, but open endless possibilities in property sales, development, trade, agriculture and manufacturing.
“There is so much we can learn from each other,” said Mrt Carey, who is considering opening an office in China.
“It was an honour to meet with someone as successful as Alan Chen, and to hear the Minister reassure all of us in the meeting that whatever route we took in strengthening our ties with China, the government of the Bahamas would be supportive.”
A change in the law that will allow Chinese visitors to stay in the Bahamas for 30 days without a visa is expected to take effect this Spring.
“We want to attract buyers from the Asia/Pacific region, and we believe the easing of visa restrictions will go a long way in helping us make that a reality,” said Mr Carey, one of only 2 per cent of industry professionals with a degree in real estate.
“Government has done its part in easing restrictions, but it is up to us in the private sector to be aggressive in seeking out the Chinese market, whether that individual is a visitor or a potential investor, showing respect and providing an experience that meets or exceeds expectations.
“With plans to facilitate a direct flight from the Asia Pacific region in the near future, visa exemptions and the Bahamian initiative to facilitate investors from the region, the Bahamas is moving in a positive direction.”
Mr Carey has already had sales materials, print and online, translated into Mandarin. His website contains basic information about the Bahamas in Mandarin, along with various listings in Ocean Club Estates, Old Fort Bay and other high end or exclusive offerings.
His Shanghai Luxury Property Show presentation on exclusive waterfront and beach properties, including Paradise Island, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay and private islands, was in both English and Mandarin.
“Even before it opens to the public as a mega-resort, Baha Mar is proving to be a major influence in terms of demonstrating the power of Chinese economic impact on the Bahamian economy,” said Mr Carey.
“We are appreciative of Baha Mar for opening a window to a new world. Now it is up to us to be ready so we do not let this opportunity slip through our fingers.”
Headquartered on Bay Street, MCR was founded in 2008 with a few staff members, Today, the firm, which specializes in luxury properties, has nearly 30 agents and support staff with representatives from Bimini to Long Island.