Monthly Update: January 2012

Market News

Happy New Year!

Lots of results from 2011 coming in during January. First off were the Grade A Office rental levels in major cities. In Beijing, Grade A office rent rose by 41% over the course of last year. In Shanghai this number was 17%. Analysts predict this growth to slow a little this year but to remain strong. Vacancy remains are likely to remain low at around 9% due to the completion of less projects in 2012 in the major cities.

Some are predicting a tough time for the Hong Kong property market in 2012. Most studies predict a fall in mass market property prices of anywhere up to 15%. Even the usually robust luxury residential sector is not immune with many forecasting falls in prices of between 5-10%.

A new study in January showed that Real Estate Funds in China are expected to surge in 2012 as developers launch their own schemes to bridge the funding gap brought on by the government restrictions on property financing. Many feel these vehicles will come too late however and will not offer a quick enough funding solution. A number of developers are expected to shut up shop or at the least quick sell their assets in the coming year.

GDP figures for China in 2011 were announced. GDP grew at the slowest rate for 2 years…but was still a healthy 8.9%! Many experts predict that China is going to have a managed “soft landing” rather than a drastic problem. The reality is that the government is likely to continue to control growth carefully through their measures to combat high prices in both the property and retail markets with one analyst suggesting a figure of 8% GDP growth is the target deemed healthy which could then conceivably be maintained for the next 20 years!

Poll Result

This month we were keen to gauge sentiment regarding the prospects for our industry in 2012. The results can be seen below:

76% of you were “somewhat positive” or “extremely positive” which is great to hear! A lot of market news and focus has been on China and many of our conversations in the last month have been with clients regarding their expectations for 2012 – in our conversations we have found most clients predict a slower start to the year with a pick up in the second half. That said, many still predict they will continue to hire throughout and are not overly concerned by reports, which are normally from overseas news sources. It seems that there is no substitute for being on the ground in China and knowing how things here really work. It is interesting to see this sentiment backed up by those of you who voted. In particular we noted that nobody feels “extremely negative” about 2012 with only 4% feeling “not positive”. We expected more of you to feel unsure about what is going to happen but it seems this isn’t the case. If the positive sentiment is maintained then hopefully 2012 can be a great year for the industry in China!

What’s Hot

The expected slowdown between Christmas and Chinese New Year was not apparent this year – although the expected uplift after has hit with full force in the last week!

We have many requirements from our top clients.

In architecture, we are looking for key senior individuals for roles as Project Directors or Design Directors, the latter being with strong retail experience. We also have been working on a exclusive project for a client looking to find an expat for their business in China! As always, strong Mandarin speaking architects at all levels are still in demand and we even have some more junior roles (albeit at latter interview stages now) here in Hong Kong. We have this week also received a mandate for a number of landscape designers in Shanghai to work on hotel/resort projects – great firm, great opportunity – they will also consider less experienced people so it could be good for those of you looking for a strong mentoring programme and learning experience.

Interior design needs have exploded in the last few weeks. We are in need of good hotel interior design candidates at all levels in Hong Kong – ranging from Project Director all the way down to junior designers or decorators. These are with some really fantastic practices so if you are interested, please get in touch. Similarly, we need a senior candidate to lead a Corporate Design practice here in Hong Kong plus less experienced corporate designers. We are also on the look out for retail and hotel centric project managers with an interiors background in Hong Kong to manage project delivery.

Our developer clients keep coming back to us with more work! We are working with a top tier developer exclusively on positions for Project Managers in Hong Kong (Deputy General Manager to Deputy Project Manager level) – this is really one of the most desired developers to work for! We also have positions within a couple of highly regarded smaller boutique developers in Hong Kong who again attract people to work for them due to the reputation for offering a great working environment. Our excellent relationships have resulted in further work coming through for slightly different positions including Residential Sales Associate Director for one of the top firms. We also urgently need experienced people for a Top 4 developer to work on two extremely prestigious hotel schemes in China…the list goes on! In essence, if you are a project manager with an architectural or engineering background with Mandarin and experience in China, we can probably help!

We will keep updating you all via Twitter as new roles come in but check our website for more details.

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last month.

  • Interior Design Leader – Corporate Interiors – Hong Kong – A leading international design firm
  • Architectural Project Manager – Singapore – a globally renowned architectural design powerhouse!
  • Retail Design Director – Hong Kong – award winning and growing design studio
  • Landscape Designers – Shanghai – one of our best clients offering some great opportunities for those with hotel/resort experience
  • Residential Sales Associate Director – Hong Kong – a boutique luxury developer with a top class reputation
  • Senior Project Managers – Hotels – China – Top tier developer with senior opportunities
  • Deputy General Manager to Deputy Project Manager – exclusive – Hong Kong – one of the regions most desirable developers looking for lots of people
  • Ex-Pat Architect – Shanghai – an international firm with a slightly different need!
  • Project Director – Architecture – Hong Kong – A strong team leader and business savvy individual needed for this top design firm
  • Project Managers – Hong Kong and China – for another developer client here in Hong Kong

We also have many, many more roles posted on our website and these are only an overview of our top positions at this time. Please check back regularly. The easiest way to stay up to date with our latest positions is to follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our website for more information on the above roles and our other vacancies:

If you wish to enquire about a position please send an email and your CV to

Follow us on Twitter here: Please also subscribe to our blog by filling in the email subscription form on the right to stay up to date with our latest posts, updates and information.


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