International Expansion

As commercial real estate continues to evolve into a global industry, CCIM members such as Michael T. Tseng, CCIM, CRE, CRS, chief executive officer of REPro International in Taipei, Taiwan, are helping to expand the designation’s presence worldwide. The first CCIM designee in Taiwan, Tseng pioneered CCIM initiatives in Asia through his roles as vice president of the Taipei Association of Real Estate Brokers and chair of the Chinese Association of Real Estate Brokers’ International Affairs Committee. Most recently, Tseng was appointed to the 2011 National Association of Realtors board of directors. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked him to share his experience as an international CCIM and some of his plans to help expand the CCIM program worldwide.

CIRE: As the first CCIM in Taiwan, what drove you to pursue the designation?
Tseng: Earning the CCIM designation is the best investment I have ever made in my life, generating significant and continuous returns since I established my own commercial property service business 11 years ago.

Lacking any real estate experience, I left IBM Taiwan to open an appraisal firm and quickly recognized my career limitations. To leverage my English-Chinese bilingual capabilities and international trade experience, I decided to pursue a broader commercial property brokerage business. My mentor, Daniel Swango, Ph.D, MAI, CRE, FRICS, who lives and practices in Tucson, Ariz., advised me to earn the CCIM designation.

CIRE: How has being a CCIM improved your global business opportunities?
Tseng: It really paid off when my small, independent company beat out a large international brokerage for a French-owned factory listing that eventually generated a $160,000 commission. The CCIM designation also gave me credibility when Cushman & Wakefield’s Asia Pacific operation sought a cooperating agent in Taiwan. They quickly realized my professional knowledge and ability to thoroughly fulfill clients’ needs. We established a long-term business relationship, which has helped me grow my business. Over the past 10 years, I have grown REPro from a $50,000, five-person operation to a $4 million, 30-employee business.

CIRE: As a member of NAR’s board of directors, what steps will you take to strengthen the relationships among NAR, CCIM Institute, and other global real estate organizations?
Tseng: I plan to provide real estate insights from an Asian perspective to assist with NAR’s globalization endeavors. I am also going to take practical steps to foster business opportunities between U.S. and Taiwanese practitioners. I currently teach CCIM and Certified Residential Specialist courses and would like to bring other commercial real estate courses into Taiwan. In addition, I hope to build a network of professionals to serve as the heart and engine for future member communications, trade missions, and international conferences. Finally, I would like to establish a cross-border business referral system that will bring tangible financial benefits to all CCIM members.

CIRE: Earlier this year, the institute initiated a new CCIM chapter in Taiwan. What role will you play in creating the new chapter and recruiting new members?
Tseng: With the support of more than 140 CCIMs and over 100 candidates, I am acting as the founding president of the Taiwan CCIM Chapter. We aim to become a leading international CCIM chapter, increase membership by providing more benefits to local members, create more business and networking opportunities for members by building up CCIM’s elite professional image and establishing an international referral system, improve members’ professionalism and capabilities by offering more CCIM courses, and share local business strategies and experiences among CCIM members.

CIRE: How will the new CCIM chapter in Taiwan facilitate business between local CCIMs and CCIMs in other global markets?
Tseng: With a stronger international referral and exchange network in place, Taiwan will be able to leverage some advances it has made with other countries. Specifically, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a free-trade agreement with China signed in June, will provide more opportunities for local investors and international investment institutions to buy real estate that has significant property value appreciation driven by economic growth.

In addition, we have talked to the Los Angeles CCIM Chapter and Western Canada CCIM Chapter in Vancouver, British Columbia, about establishing ‘sister chapter’ relationships with us. It’s our mutual goal that each chapter will initiate, facilitate, and host trade missions and networking opportunities between and among the members of the sister chapters.

Jennifer Norbut

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