Executive Vice President James Min's Global Push
The Korean Corporate Solutions Desk Negotiates More Than $90 Million in Transactions in the Past 15 Months
Colliers International, under the guidance of veteran commercial real estate broker James Min, and with the full backing of senior corporate management, made a decision some years ago to aggressively target the large and influential Korean business community through the formation of its Korean Corporate Solutions Desk.
Its success has never been greater than in the past year.
Reflecting on 2015 and first quarter 2016, executives with the brokerage firm and leaders of the Korean business community are calling it an “overwhelming” success. Min has closed more than $90 million in transactions from the beginning of 2015 through first quarter of 2016.
What began as a local operation focusing on Los Angeles, which has the largest Korean population of any major U.S. city, has morphed into a national and international operation with Min traveling throughout the country and to Mexico and Canada, as well as Korea, chasing and winning the domestic business of Korean-owned companies.
“What I do is put together the best possible brokerage team in whatever market I happen to be working and collaborating in and then oversee the transaction to its conclusion,” said Min. “Since I have been on both sides of the equation, I understand the client’s needs as well as how to best work with Colliers brokers, whether they be here in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or wherever.”
Due to the overwhelming success of this targeted outreach to the Korean market, Min received numerous accolades at the end of 2015 for his transactions. He was named the top broker for Colliers’ Los Angeles South sub-region, which encompasses the South Bay, Commerce and the City of Industry. Based on that sales record, he also earned membership in the company’s most elite regional sales group – its overall Top 10 in Greater Los Angeles.
Additionally, Min was inducted into Colliers’ Everest Club, which annually recognizes the top 10% of Colliers brokers across the Americas who demonstrate a dedication to service excellence while building longstanding and valued client relationships.
Min’s 12-year career with Colliers, combined with his former lengthy experience as a senior executive with a major Korean corporation, and his knowledge of the culture and language, has enabled him to counsel and collaborate with other Colliers brokers in bridging the language and culture gaps when they find themselves working with Korean clients. Conversely, he’s been able to persuade sometimes reluctant Korea-based clients to work with a firm that has an international reach, but is firmly rooted in North America.
He’s a man with a foot in two cultures and it has paid off handsomely for him and for those Colliers brokers he works with around the world.
As a prime example, he cites a recent transaction with a major subsidiary of one of the best-know Korean-based conglomerates. He was able to bring to a successful conclusion a transaction when it appeared that it might not close at all. The client wanted to lease a 90,000-square-foot industrial building, but the property owner wasn’t interested in leasing the property; he wanted to sell the structure. Min then approached one of the largest domestic institutional investment firms in the U.S. and persuaded it to purchase the building since it was a perfect fit for its industrial portfolio. The U.S. investor then leased the building to his Korean client.
“It was a creative solution that met the needs of both the building owner and the client,” he said, “and it demonstrates the types of solutions we can, and often do, find for our clients. We look beyond the mere lease or sale to customize solutions.”
In Monterrey, Mexico, Min worked with Colliers brokers to find a manufacturing site for one of the world’s largest Korean-owned auto supply companies, bringing with it some 200 jobs. In the Midwest, he did the same with brokers from Colliers’ Chicago office, finding a 276,000-square-foot Prologis-built distribution center for the third-largest tire company in the U.S., also Korean-owned.
It was his second transaction with the tire company. Earlier, he had worked with brokers in the firm’s Ontario, California office on a much larger facility for the tire firm, the lease of a TIAA-CREF-built, 830,000-square-foot headquarters and logistics center in Rancho Cucamonga.
“All of these transactions are great examples of Mr. Min’s ability to work with what is the Korean equivalent of Fortune 500 firms here, and to represent them effectively in negotiations with the very American and very institutionally corporate teams at many of the largest domestic development firms in the U.S.,” said Colliers Executive Managing Director John Hollingsworth, under whose purview falls the many of Collier’s brokerage operations that are based in its Greater Los Angeles Region, including the Korean Corporate Solutions Desk.
“He’s been able to bridge the differences in culture and corporate practices, build an effective Colliers team, and create solutions for his Korea-based clients that other brokers would find difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish due to his knowledge of both the English and Korean languages, but on a much more subtle basis, his depth of understanding of both American and Korean business practices,” Hollingsworth added. “But it didn’t happen overnight. He has worked hard for more than a decade developing this line of our business.”
The Korean firms he has worked with throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada are many names familiar to Americans in the mobile communications, automobiles, tire, auto parts, food, logistics, and even golf. In total, he has collaborated on more than 20 transactions involving Korean clients in the past 15 months.
“Our efforts every year have been met with increasingly acceptance from the Korean business community,” said Min. “In turn, working with my colleagues at Colliers, I have been able to educate and inform them about opportunities, the Korean culture and how best to work with the Korean business community. It’s been a successful program from the start.”
Prior to joining Colliers, Min served in progressively more senior corporate positions with a major Korean corporation, including in senior sales, marketing, merchandising and operational roles.