Q&A – China Trade Mission

Q&A on the China Trade Mission with KORE Marketing

1. Who We Are.
KORE Marketing (加和地產集團) is an integrated real estate marketing and sales company based out of Calgary, Alberta. As a dynamic and innovative firm, KORE Marketing specializes in providing the services of multicultural marketing, event management, and international real estate marketing for condominium projects.

KORE Marketing also represents a wide range of clientele from individuals, investor groups and institutional investors both locally and internationally.

2. Why we decided to participate in the China Trade Mission and who we met with.
Our company decided to participate in the China Trade Mission because of the influx of Chinese immigrants and investors purchasing real estate in Calgary and throughout Canada. To capitalize on this trend, our company went directly to China to meet with local industry members and investors to build the relationships needed to open up the market.

3. When we went and where we went.
The China Trade Mission took place in Hong Kong between June 24, to June 26, 2012 and in Beijing between June 26 to June 28, 2012. Our company participated in two Canada investment forums – The “Hong Kong Investment Symposium” and the “Euromoney Conference” in Beijing. This was the first official trade mission to China to promote Calgary real estate.

We were also invited by the Alberta Trade Office to attend and present at a third forum on July 3 to July 4, 2012, the “Invest in Canada Seminar” held in Changsha, Hunan hosted by the Canadian Consulate General in Guangzhou.

4. Who we went with and what we did.
The China Trade Mission was organized by the Calgary Economic Development to promote investment into Calgary real estate and energy. The Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford also came on the China Trade Mission to meet with business, banking, and government to promote bilateral trade and investment with China. The Premier also met with business leaders such as Hong Kong billionaire, Li Ka Shing.

KORE Marketing was leading the residential real estate segment of the China Trade Mission and worked very closely with Calgary Economic Development and the Alberta Trade Office on the trade mission. To promote our city, we produced a promotional video featuring Wayne Cao, MLA and Jason Luan, MLA that was presented at all three forums.

A round table discussion was also held by Minister Cal Dallas, Alberta Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations where trade delegates from the real estate and energy sectors were invited to discuss issues relating to doing business in China and how the government can provide more assistance. KORE Maketing raised our concerns about the AINP (Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program) and how it is not as attractive as other provinces PNP (Provincial Nominee Programs). Minister Cal Dallas informed us that the Provincial Government is currently working with the Federal government on improving the PNP.

We also had productive meetings with several of the largest real estate, banking, and immigration firms in Hong Kong and Beijing and we are currently working together to promote both awareness of Calgary and investment into Calgary real estate.

5.) What We Learned and Discovered

We discovered that there still a lot of work that still needs to be done in terms of promoting Alberta as the majority of people in China do not know where Calgary or Alberta is. The ones that do know would only know due to the oil sands and Banff, but very few know anything about Calgary. A lot of misconceptions also exist where people believe that Calgary is a very small city with no lifestyle. This is due to a lack of marketing and promotion.

After our presentations where we educated people on Calgary and the advantages of living here, we discovered that there is indeed interest in immigrating and investing here. With proper marketing and promotion, there is incredible potential in developing this market.

We learned that the most popular Canadian provinces being promoted in China right now are British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec. We also learned that there were no major immigration consultants that were marketing Alberta as a destination for immigrants in Hong Kong or Beijing. The immigration consultants informed us that the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program is not as attractive as other provinces such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, and New Brunswick.

The reason the AINP (Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program) is not as popular is because our province currently does not offer any investor, entrepreneur, business, or family sponsorship categories for nomination. Our provinces PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) is an employer-driven immigration program mostly focused on attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers, which is not as popular amongst Chinese immigrants.

Historically speaking, Chinese immigrants have primarily immigrated under the categories of investor, entrepreneur, business, or family sponsorship. Essentially, by not having any one of these programs in our PNP, our province is a less desired immigration destination for Chinese immigrants.

6.) What are the challenges and solutions to attracting Chinese immigrants and investors to Alberta?

The four main challenges and solutions to attracting more Chinese immigrants and investors to Alberta are:

1.) Challenge: Lack of awareness in China about the great lifestyle and opportunities in Alberta.

Solution: Requires marketing and promotion both through government and business channels.

2.) Challenge: AINP (Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program) is not competitive with other provinces and currently only offers skilled immigration.

Solution: Alberta needs to diversify our PNP to include family class, entrepreneur class, and investor class.

3.) Challenge: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has placed a temporary pause on all new applications for the FSWP (Federal Skilled Worker Program) and the IIP (Federal Immigrant Investor Program) effective July 1, 2012.

Solution: Federal immigration programs need to be reopened and streamlined for faster processing and approval.

4.) Challenge: AINP (Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program) currently has an immigration quota set at 5,000 per year and the IIP (Federal Immigrant Investor Program) has an immigration quota set at 700 per year prior to the temporary pause.

Solution: The Federal Government needs to increase the immigration quotas for the AINP to numbers that properly address Alberta’s shortage of labor and the IIP to attract foreign investment.