Bright future for technology sector

Investment and consultancy firm CBRE expects increasing opportunities over the next few years to invest in technology in China's dynamic market.
Bright future for technology sector
Ti Gong

Chandra Dhandapani, chief digital and technology officer of NYSE-listed commercial real estate investment and consultancy firm CBRE

Property investment and consultancy firm CBRE expects an upbeat sentiment and increasing opportunities to invest in technology in the commercial property sector in coming years, said Chandra Dhandapani, its chief digital and technology officer.

Dhandapani told Shanghai Daily that investment to upgrade technology in commercial real estate sector has been upbeat in the past few years, although it has been lagging the financial industry in adopting digital solutions.

“China is one of the most dynamic markets in terms of technology upgrades in the property sector in the world,” Dhandapani said. "In the next couple of years, I think the opportunities are going to increase even further and innovations are most likely to appear with the combination of industry trends and technology improvements and upgrades."

According to industry reports, there has been an accumulated US$40 billion investment in technologically innovative products in recent years, including in digital business models and smart buildings solutions for commercial real estate projects.

In China, CB Insights estimates that relevant investment has surpassed US$1 billion.

Dhandapani noted that key sectors and major technology areas of interest for property investors in China would include space visualization technologies, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, building information modeling, and smart cities.

"China has many impressive tech companies and also many creative young startups with technology offerings for the property sector," she said.

The NYSE-listed commercial real estate investment and consultancy firm will also strengthen collaboration with Chinese local companies and at the same time seek to enhance its local team in this regard.

The Internet of Things, big data, building information modeling, machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing the property landscape very fast, she said.

"We have seen flexible spaces as a trend where office space and experience are provided as a service; and investors are also following the rising trend of flexible working space closely to offer digitally enabled infrastructure to manage flexible spaces," she said.

Having witnessed similar client needs in the US, UK and China, Dhandapani said property and facility managers hope to create a more productive work space and environment.

She expects to see more open innovation and cross-industry collaboration to foster innovation in business models, processes, delivery methods and technology that can lead the change in the commercial real estate industry.

The company hopes to combine its knowledge in commercial real estate with local talent, innovation and delivery capabilities, to create a service platform with technology products and novelties that are made locally to serve local demand.

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