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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chinese Business Opportunities for South Florida
Posted On June 27, 2013 Posted By: admin

Chinese Business Opportunities

Just like any business venture, doing a thorough due diligence is absolutely critical to success. It is no different with doing business in China. Many a business hear of the great riches that await in China and launch without much of a business plan or researching the local culture, business environment, or available resources. Alysha Khan and Doreen Hemlock state that:

To succeed in business with China involves doing your homework, building trust with Chinese partners — and often drinking lots of alcohol.

That was some of the advice offered by a panel of China experts at a seminar Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, sponsored by HSBC Bank and organized by the South Florida Business Journal.

Panelists said too many U.S. companies fail in China because they don’t do their research and refuse to get on a plane to learn first-hand how the Chinese market works. They also don’t spend the time needed to build relationships with Chinese partners — which often means dinners with many drinks.

“The Chinese are not going to buy from you just because you have a fantastic product,” said Lawrence A. Freeman, chairman of Global Investment Business Advisors of Miami and a three-decade veteran in China business. “They’re not going to buy from you unless they know you and trust you.”

South Florida companies now do all kinds of business with the Asian giant, from contracting at Chinese factories to selling scrap metals and even arranging for Chinese investors to move to the United States.

One sign of these growing ties is trade.

South Florida’s direct trade with China rose almost 9 percent last year, to $6.2 billion. Most of this trade involved imports of computers and high-tech goods — including some goods that were later sold to Latin America, according to U.S. trade data analyzed by WorldCity of Coral Gables.

Florida-China trade is forecast to rise farther still, after the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015 brings larger ships from Asia to U.S. East Coast seaports, said Ken Roberts, president of WorldCity.

Local companies can cash in on the growing transport links by boosting their exports to China. Beijing’s latest five-year economic plan puts less emphasis on China’s exports and savings and more focus on Chinese consumer spending — a push that encourages imports, said Stephen Zhao, who runs the China desk for commercial banking at HSBC Bank USA in New York.

Born in China, Zhao offered a glimpse into the speed of change in the nation of 1.3 billion people, which began opening its tightly controlled market to the world in 1978.

Zhao recalled that more than 30 years ago, a typical birthday present was a boiled egg that a child would share with his siblings. Now, it’s more likely to be a birthday party in a restaurant with friends and, of course, a birthday cake.

“Imagine 1.3 billion birthday cakes,” Zhao said, underscoring opportunities for Florida sales in the country that now has the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese tourism also holds promise for South Florida as China’s fast-growing middle class travels more overseas, said Anly Liu, chief executive of Oriental Logistics Miami and president of the Florida-China Chamber of Commerce.

A Chinese group is now financing a more than $3 billion resort on Nassau in the Bahamas, and more than 5,000 Chinese workers are helping build the mega-project. If the resort can’t be filled with U.S. vacationers, developers likely will bring in Chinese travelers, said Barry Brant, a partner in the South Florida accounting firm Berkowitz Pollack Brant.

“I think Miami can be a very good location for them to invest” once the Chinese are used to the Bahamas, Brant said. Some Chinese already are looking to invest in Florida hotels and offices, he said.

One local company trying to sell to China’s business class is Crefdi Realty Advisors of Delray Beach. It’s touting commercial real estate deals in South Florida and across the United States. No deal has closed yet, but several are in negotiations, company analyst Tingjun Chen said.

Chen was born in China and raised in the United States.

“We’re doing a lot of relationship-building now,” Chen said. “The Chinese have to know you and trust you, and being Chinese and speaking the language gives me an advantage.”

There are many great opportunities doing business with China, but to believe that it is an easy task would be to prepare to fail. Yes the opportunities are there, but just like any business venture, make sure you create a business plan, and do your research. After all, fortune favors the prepared mind.

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Heat Wins Mean Big Money for South Florida Businesses
Posted On June 7, 2013 Posted By: admin

Heat Wins Mean Big Money for South Florida Businesses

In South Florida we are so proud of our professional teams. With the NBA playoffs in full swing, we couldn’t be prouder than our basketball team the Miami Heat. Beyond the pride that we feel, it is also nice to know that each step they take towards the Championship they actually have a positive effect on the South Florida economy. The Sun Sentinel reports that:

The Miami Heat are one win away from making the NBA Finals, and most everyone is cheering.

Some South Florida businesses are cheering just a little bit louder. Wins equate to cash for them, with the Finals bringing a windfall of sales and tourism to the area.

Metro Signs of Hollywood is especially attentive. The company is scheduled to make and install the giant NBA Finals banners that will hang at the American Airlines Arena. The job last year brought the small firm more than $20,000, according to company president Bruno Dede.

Metro Signs already has benefited this spring by making the giant Lebron James MVP sign that currently hangs outside the Heat’s home arena. And after last year’s NBA title, it installed new graphics in the Heat locker room and part of the arena known as Championship Alley — a job that ran into the six figures.

The firm’s MetroWrapz division also has been cashing in recently by working with car dealers to wrap vehicles with the Heat’s “White Hot” playoffs theme and flashy graphics reading: “Let’s Go Heat!”

In Fort Lauderdale, Atlas Embroidery and Screen Printing already has been shipping containers full of T-shirts at its factory, waiting to be printed for the Eastern Conference championships and for the NBA Finals.

Printing could begin as early as Saturday night, just minutes after Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers, “when the Heat win,” Atlas president Mitch Lombard said confidently. Conference champions shirts could be available in South Florida stores as early as Sunday morning.

Additional shirts for the NBA Finals would be printed next week, with as many as 60 to 70 employees at the 100-worker firm busy on the NBA job and doing overtime at nights as needed, said Lombard.

For the Duffy’s Sports Grill restaurants, the Heat advancing means more watch parties and extra sales.

Each Heat playoff game brings in about $50,000 in additional sales for the chain that is based in Palm Beach Gardens and includes nearly two dozen restaurants, said Duffy’s president Paul Emmett.

“If we have three games a week, that’s significant sales and earnings for us,” Emmett said.

The Hooters restaurant at Bayside Marketplace mall near the Heat arena in downtown Miami adds as many as 10 employees during Heat playoff games to handle the crowds, said manager Jesus Toledo.

“Even when it’s not a home game, we get extra people coming in.” said Toledo. “We want them to win.”

Ticket sellers also expect to gain from increased tourism.

A Place for Tickets in Hollywood already has a waiting list of out-of-towners who want game seats, hotel rooms and restaurant reservations in Miami for the NBA Finals, said president Eric Kissel.

Many sports tourists want to stay in top resorts in South Beach, so they can be a short taxi ride from the arena and then can party back at their hotel or at night spots nearby.

Kissel estimates tickets for the first two Miami home games in the NBA Finals — Thursday and June 9 — would start at around $200 per seat in the upper levels and likely reach somewhere in the $10,000 to $25,000 range for seats courtside.

Whether it is for bragging rights, or just because it makes business sense, we have just one thing to say: “Go HEAT!!!!!”

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