NEW YORK (MainStreet) Dallas-native Ben Briggs founded and ran a company in Xiamen, China for eight years. His son Robbie served as chairman of the board of the International School of Beijing where he lived for three years. Now, the father and son team are introducing Chinese business influencers to Texas and its investment opportunities.
"Governor Perry has done a fantastic job with taxes and the local Texas economy," said Scott Shellady, CEO of Bradford Capital Management in Chicago. "This naturally leads to a more stable and confident environment for investors and residents. The state has clearly shown an interest in outside investment whether it be from Illinois or Shanghai."
Assuming their colleagues in China would want to learn about opportunities in Texas specifically Dallas-Fort Worth, the Briggs family took their hunch about mass market demand and organized a 12-day, five-city tour of China that ended in Beijing.
"Meetings with banking leaders, lawyers and investors have revealed a feeling of insecurity about assets in China that is motivating them to want to park wealth in U.S. real estate," said Ben Briggs, executive vice president of greater China with Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty.
"One group of 70 CEOs we spoke with asked questions regarding residential taxes, high-rise apartments that can be leased out, whether ownership is fee simple, what kind of investments qualify for the EB-5 immigration program and the availability of food-supply properties and ranches," said Robbie Briggs, CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty. "The interest level everywhere we go is apparent."
The EB-5 program is a permanent residence option for foreign nationals that requires an investment of $1 million in a commercial enterprise that will employ 10 full-time US workers or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area.