ULI Asia Pacific Region Leads Adaptation to Events Program in Post-COVID-19 World

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 meant ULI Asia Pacific was the first region to have its in-person meeting program affected by COVID-19The regional team led the way in promoting an engaging digital program, beginning in February 2020, despite having to postpone several key events such as the flagship ULI Asia Pacific Summit, several national council annual conferences, and the Experience-the-Experience Forum 

Before the outbreaktraditional ULIAsia Pacific Convivium was held November 11–12, 2019, at the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore, bringing together full members from across the region for two days of networking and learning. Ed Walter,ULIglobal chief executive officer; Nicholas Brooke,ULIAsia Pacific chairman; and Yu-Ning Hwang of the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority, kicked off the event with a discussion on land use leadership. 

The convivium included sessions on property technology (proptech), a lunch with Singaporeminister for national development, Lawrence Wong, and interactive working sessions where topics pertinent to the real estate industry were debated. A members reception gave members the chance to network with the industry’s best and brightest. In addition, Asia Pacific product council members met to exchange best practices during Council Day. Recordings and visual presentations are now available on Knowledge Finder. 

Later in November, ULI China Mainland hosted its annual conference in Beijing. The event was a tremendous success, marking continued efforts by member leaders to expand engagement in Beijing. Members and industry leaders came together to debate the event topic, A New Chapter: Urban Development in Beijing. ULI China Mainland also hosted its first event for full members. The meeting targeted primarily local developers, with about 30 ULI full members and invited guests attending. They discussed how to carry out real estate operations in a slowing economy. 

Completing a busy month, the ULI Japan Fall Conference 2019 took place on November 21, focusing on staying relevant in the changing world. The event looked at the evolving retail model, the progress of sustainability in terms of environment, social, and governance (ESG) priorities and sustainable development goals (SDGs)as well as the evolution and status of capital markets. Featured speakers included professor Yuichi Hosoya of Keio University and David Manfredi, a globally renowned architect who oversaw the design of Amazon’s second headquarters and a variety of other high-profile projects. Closing keynote speaker Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Groupanalyzed the present and future of hospitality through the eyes of a luxury owner/operator, and was joined by a panel of players operating across the hospitality spectrum. 

ULI South Korea held its second annual conference in Seoul on January 17, drawing a crowd composed mainly of fund managers and investors. Following a networking lunch, sessions included presentations looking at the three 2020 ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate®  reports (Asia Pacific, Americas, and Europe), followed by a panel of speakers from IGIS, Heitman, Brookfield, KKR, and Actis discussing Korean inbound and outbound capital flows. 

Other sessions took on the theme of sustainability, including a presentation by Heitman’s Brian Klinksiek on how investors are increasingly building climate change risk into their models when underwriting new deals. ULI’s London-based consultant Andrea Carpenter and GIGA’s Stanton Wong closed the day with presentations on how wellness is becoming a major trend in commercial real estate as tenant demand pushes landlords to make their workplaces healthy.  

Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, ULI Singapore’s annual conference shifted to a virtual platform and streamed online via a live webcast. The event took off with resounding success, with more than 400 viewers tuning in to 2020 ULI Singapore Annual Conference LiveOnline over the course of three hours. The full event is available for ULI members on Knowledge Finder. 

ULI Asia Pacific also hosted a unique invitation-only virtual Capital Markets Roundtable on May 7 at which 30 senior real estate leaders discussed how companies are responding to the pandemic, debated the challenges the industry now faces, and analyzed the opportunities that are arising. The event was split into three 30-minute segments, each focusing on a different topic, including current challenges in real estate, the future, and the industry response.  

Closing out the fiscal year, the 2020 ULI Philippines Conference: The Futu/RE Summit was broadcast digitally via webcast on June 30. The event focused on sustainability and resilience in the real estate industry and addressed topics such as climate change, urban challenges, current and future crises, and socioeconomic inclusivity. 

Panel sessions, led by industry experts and moderated by Issa Litton, delved into the challenges of public and private investments, urban development, and future governance of communities and nations. The resulting discussion explored solutions drawn from the varying facets of real estate and urban infrastructure. The full event is now available for ULI members on Knowledge Finder. 

Find ULI Asia Pacific’s webinars on Knowledge Finder. 

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