Monika Tu, founder of Black Diamondz, knows an opportunity when she sees one. The serial entrepreneur is leveraging her access to the ultra-rich Chinese buyers of luxury real estate to offer them business advice.
Tu already offers her wealthy residential clients recruitment, marketing and public relations services, but her plan is to help them build businesses here with a view to listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Regardless of their net worth, the entrepreneurial Chinese new Australian is nowhere near ready to retire,” says Tu, who first landed in Australia as a student in 1988. “Generally they already have varied business ownerships, including property development, technology, tourism and agriculture. They are ready to expand these companies here.”
Tu’s Black Diamondz started in 2009 as a sales agency focused on luxury real estate, then it branched out into a concierge service, greeting clients at the airport, ferrying them to a five-star hotel, and organising tours and dinner reservations.
Monika Tu is is adamant about changing perception of mistrust between Australian and Chinese business. Louise Kennerley
Help with assimilation
After clients have bought a home, often to accommodate a family migration, the company researches private school or university selections for their children and helps the families assimilate by holding social events, parties and gatherings.
Seven years after founding the business, Tu launched a talent recruitment division. Her rationale was that after her clients’ children finished their education, they would need help navigating the job market. She has placed bilingual Chinese-Australians into law firms and high-end retailers such as Louis Vuitton.
Hot on the heels of her recruitment play, she set up marketing and public relations services for Chinese businesses, including mega developer Dalian Wanda and global brand BMW. While working with businesses, she realised the growing number of ASX-listed Chinese companies were struggling to connect with shareholders, leading to share price stagnation.
“It was obvious an opportunity exists to take a far more holistic approach towards listing,” says Tu. “There’s been a disconnect between listing an IPO and maintaining share price. This had little to do with the performance of the company and more to do with the lack of communication in the market.”
The service will help founders plan a business with credible accountants and lawyers and board members. Tu and the newly hired team of advisers will help with pre-IPO roadshows and even plan book-builds.
Once a business has listed, Black Diamondz will install a public relations team.
“There can be suspicion surrounding Australian-Chinese businesses. There needs to be a framework to negate this and show the positive performance of these companies and their value to our Australian community,” says Tu, who is from south-western China’s Guizhou.
Despite the amount of business between Australia and China there is still a level of mistrust, as seen recently by the federal and state governments’ rejection of a Chinese bid for Australia’s largest cattle farm, S. Kidman & Co, and poles and wires business Ausgrid.
Tu is adamant about changing that perception. She will not take just any business under her wing; clients must be experienced business people with products and services aligned with Black Diamondz’ luxury theme.
She has identified two categories of business so far that fill the bill: agritourism and biotech.
In agritourism, wealthy Chinese investors are keen to inject capital into struggling farms to turn them into viable businesses, whether as a wedding destination or an international bed and breakfast. With biotech, it’s all about high-end cosmetics and skincare.
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