NewQuest launches Asia-Pacific retail division

Heather Nguyen

NewQuest Properties introduced a new international division in the Asia-Pacific Region. Development partner Heather Nguyen, based in Houston, will lead NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail, a veteran team of brokers and affiliates in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.

NewQuest managing partner Jay Sears is integrally involved and will spearhead capital investments. The team’s 10 professionals have more than 120 years of retail industry experience.

“We’ve built strong relationships with overseas companies through the years. We understand their businesses and needs in the U.S.,” Nguyen said. “This is an unparalleled growth opportunity for NewQuest and our existing and future clients.”

The expanded team includes Jason Wang, development director; Yoshihide Murata, development senior consultant and Kaishu Okada, business development consultant who is based in Tokyo. Wang most recently was development director for 85° C Bakery & Café’s U.S. expansion. Yoshihide formerly was vice president of real estate for Daiso Japan. Kaishu previously was senior managing director of Newmark Knight Frank’s Japan office.

NewQuest’s new division also includes Naoyuki Kondo, retail leasing specialist who joined the brokerage firm earlier this year. He was the former real estate director for Kura Revolving Sushi Bar and spearheaded its expansion in the U.S. Rounding out the Asia-Pacific group are longtime NewQuest brokers Rebecca Le, senior vice president; John Nguyen, vice president; and Grace La, associate.

“Texas has quickly become a retail powerhouse for Asian-Pacific tenants seeking to expand their operations in the U.S., and NewQuest Properties has proudly represented several internationally renowned players in this space with great success,” said Katherine Hatcher, president and COO. “The international expansion of our retail brokerage celebrates an exciting new chapter for NewQuest with great potential on the horizon.”

Asia-Pacific is the world’s largest retail market, boasting innovative brands with strong growth trajectories in e-commerce and physical locations. Statista pegs APAC’s sales volume in the U.S. in e-commerce alone at $3.6 trillion. In the past five years, the region’s sales more than quadrupled that of the rest of the world, according to Bain & Co.

“Asia-Pacific brands have experienced tremendous growth in their domestic and European markets. The U.S. is their next new market,” Nguyen said. “Our team will help these companies grow in the U.S. and make the right decisions to ensure a higher ratio of success.”

NewQuest’s Carrollton Town Center, a 150,227-square feet retail redevelopment in north Dallas, is the genesis for the Asia-Pacific brokerage division. Through Nguyen and her team, scores of Asian dining and retail concepts have been introduced to Texas—some gaining an initial point of entry to the U.S. and others expanding for the first time beyond California and New York.

“Carrollton Town Center’s success caught the attention of companies overseas,” Nguyen said. “Its tenants are hitting record sales this year. Texas has proven to the world that business can continue even during a pandemic.”

The number of Asia-Pacific retailers looking to move to the Americas is growing by the day. In 2019, foreign direct investments from Asia Pacific in the United States amounted to approximately $858.5 billion U.S. dollars, according to Statista. For many brands, the Americas present the largest new customer pool for global growth. As the globalization of consumer culture continues, Asia-Pacific retailers are finding an increasingly receptive market and often distinguish themselves as a breath of fresh air into an otherwise saturated, mature retail market.

The Asia-Pacific division will benefit from NewQuest’s development expertise. “If our client wants a specific retail synergy, we’ll find the right opportunity in its preferred market. If it doesn’t exist, we can build from the ground up and create the opportunity to meet our client’s needs,” Nguyen said. “We’re different in that we’re not just a brokerage company.”

NewQuest’s new division has been five years in the making as the core team fine-tuned the development concept, resulting in upscale Asian-centric retail centers in Dallas and Houston. The firm’s brokers have built deep relationships globally along the way.

“NewQuest is taking its talented brokerage team to greater heights with the addition of the Asia-Pacific Retail group,” Sears said. “Despite challenges for commercial real estate, our firm is thriving and continues to grow its portfolio and depth.