Leading Lifestyle Brands in Pacific NW Assemble; Seattle Metro Area Beckons Overseas Visitors & Investors. Showcase Co-Sponsored by Citi Private Bank and Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty.
Directors of the Hong Kong – Greater China Association of Washington (“HKAW”) announced today the Passport to Luxury event on February 21, 2015. The event will showcase more than a dozen Pacific Northwest lifestyle brands, luxury products and service providers, which target an ever-rising number of Chinese nationals visiting and investing in the Seattle metro area. The invitation-only event will be held in the Cirrus Room atop the Sheraton Seattle Hotel from 12pm – 4pm, in advance of the sold-out 2015 Chinese New Year Gala also being produced by HKAW.
“We’re rolling out the red carpet for locals and global citizens alike,” said Andy Yip, President of HKAW, 2014. “Our patrons will sip, sample and savor the most prized lifestyle products as they explore Pacific Northwest living at its finest.”
The Passport to Luxury showcase is being co-sponsored by Citi Private Bank and Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (“RSIR”) with Nyhus Communications. Exhibitors include Chihuly Studio, Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle, DeLille Cellars, Delta Airlines, Chang International Seafood, Luly Yang Couture, Rosaline Hampton – the Stylist, Masins Fine Furniture and Design, Glass Vodka, Ben Bridge Jewelers, LUXE Magazine, J Hilburn Men’s Clothier, Sundance Yachts, Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Experi, and Puget Sound Business Journal, among others.
Chinese nationals are now the top international overseas tourist in the region, according to Visit Seattle, surpassing Japanese consumers for the first time. This trend is propelled by rising wealth within China, expanded flights from China direct to SeaTac Airport and recent changes to entry visa rules for Chinese applicants in the US. Likewise, Chinese business-travel spending jumped 15.9-percent last year, more than twice the country’s overall economic growth rate, according to the Global Business Travel Association. Drawing upon the world’s second largest economy behind the US, Chinese business travelers are now global leaders in travel spending, outpacing Americans.
During the event, Yip will highlight trends for global citizenship and explain why Chinese nationals increasingly prefer the metro Seattle area. Research provided to HKAW by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty shows the overall cost of living in the Seattle/Bellevue metro area is a fraction of that compared with Vancouver, BC, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which have traditionally seen the majority of interest from Asian homebuyers and investors, until recently.
“We’ve been discovered for our pristine natural environment, close proximity to Asia, renowned education and relative affordability compared with peer West Coast markets,” said Dean Jones, President & CEO of RSIR. “We’ve participated in luxury property shows in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai many times but this is the first time we’ve hosted such an event here at home catered to our overseas guests.”
The Wealth-X and Sotheby’s International Realty Global Luxury Residential Real Estate Report suggests there are almost twice as many ultra-high net worth individuals (“UHNW”) individuals in Asia than there are in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, the Pacific and Africa combined. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Hurun and Visas Consulting Group reveals the majority of millionaires have either already begun or plan to emigrate from China with Seattle being the sixth most popular destination in the world.
Olive Goh, Director, Ultra High Net Worth Clients, in Citi Private Bank’s Asian Clients Group in Seattle, remarked, “Seattle has become a primary destination for investment and global wealth trends to follow. We look forward to hosting our esteemed guests and clientele in celebration of the Chinese New Year at the Passport to Luxury event to discuss topics of interest from pre-immigration planning to real estate financing.” With a presence in Asia for over 100 years and 76 locations across 19 Asian markets, Citi’s global reach and comprehensive platform may offer a significant competitive advantage for ultra high net worth Asian clients in US markets, including access to tactical trading and investment ideas, real estate strategies, cross border trust and estate planning, foreign exchange and global reporting.
As Seattle emerges as a global city, many companies are positioning to service a rise in affluent Asian consumers. Several Passport to Luxury exhibitors now feature bilingual sales staff. RSIR recently opened an “Asia Desk” at its Kirkland branch office, which features a traditional tea room and brokers experienced in several Asian languages and customs. Likewise, Citi Private Bank’s Goh is expanding the firm’s Asian Clients Group in Seattle.
In recognition of the many initiatives of HKAW, King County Executive Dow Constantine proclaimed February 21, 2015 “Hong Kong Association of Washington Day”. Persons interested in joining the guest list are encouraged to visit www.NWPassportToLuxury.com and register for more information.
Hong Kong – Greater China Association of Washington, or “HKAW”, is also previously known as the Hong Kong Club of Washington (HKCW). This is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, first established in 1994 by a group of community-minded leaders who have a common background of upbringings from Hong Kong. HKAW aims to serve by engaging in both business and social activities to enrich people’s lives with similar interests while increasing awareness of contemporary issues that arise in Hong Kong and greater China.