The DeLeon Team Expands International Marketing

By Michael Repka

Several years ago, Ken DeLeon and I decided to launch what would turn out to be Silicon Valley’s preeminent international real estate marketing department. After all, it was clear that Silicon Valley home buyers come from all over the world,
so we wanted to make sure that we reached all of these potential buyers. Although we lacked the personal skills and expertise, we had the reasons to hire the right people.

From the first time we went to China, it was apparent that we were onto something special. The combination of the prestige Ken garnered from being the only Silicon Valley agent ever ranked number one in the entire nation (a distinction he still retains while adding two more #1 national rankings for the DeLeon Team), plus a thirst for my legal and international tax acumen, resulted in a remarkably warm welcome.

Over the past few years, Melanie Yu, the head of our international marketing department, Audrey and I have continued to expand our outreach. However, until recently, our international efforts have been mainly focused on buyers from Mainland China, Taiwan, and India. 

With the continued tensions in the Middle East and the protests in Hong Kong, we have decided to step up our efforts in both of those areas.

Hong Kong

As discussed in the last edition of the DeLeon Insight Newsletter (September, 2019) (
I recently returned from a business trip to Hong Kong that occurred at the height of the protests.

In the Spring of this year, I noticed a significant increase in interest from buyers coming from Hong Kong, so I wanted to meet with some of our Hong Kong contacts to understand what they are hearing from their clients and colleagues. As expected, they confirmed that many Hong Kong residents have developed an increased desire for foreign real estate.

As a result of the information I received from these meetings, DeLeon Realty booked a booth at the Smart Home Expo, which will occur November 23 -24, 2019, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. As usual, I will be there personally, along with one of my colleagues on the listing team who speaks Chinese, promoting our listings and expanding our contacts.

The Middle East

As stories persist about tankers being attacked in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia, and as tensions with Iran grow stronger, we continue to see an increase in demand from the Middle East as well.

In fact, I am writing this article sitting by the pool at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Canal, in Abu Dhabi, which is located close to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, where we have a booth at the International Real Estate & Investment Show (IREIS 2019).


Although we have always aggressively marketed our listings to the Indian community via a combination of online ads and Indian publications, we have decided to step up our efforts in India as well.

To that end, I was in Mumbai the first week of November, meeting with some of my colleagues and contacts, and Ken will be there as well next month.


You may have heard that the Chinese buyer pool has dried up due to the difficulty of moving money out of China; however, that is not the case here in Silicon Valley. Investors from China who were buying homes and leaving them as unoccupied “ghost houses” have definitely dried up, but we are noticing a dramatic increase of buyers who want to buy homes for their families to live in, while having their children attend the acclaimed local schools in the area. This is particularly true with Chinese companies moving executives over here.

It is widely known that the DeLeon Team attends the annual Shanghai Luxury Property Showcase in December every year, and this year is no different, as we will be represented by Audrey Sun, Melanie Yu, Ann Ho, Ken DeLeon and me. We still value our relationships with local Chinese Realtors®, as well as real estate agents from overseas, and we will continue to foster these relationships by personally attending the tradeshow in Shanghai to market our listings for the fifth straight year.

Personal Benefit from Cultural Understanding

At this point, it is beyond question that our effort to market our homes to the international community is a tremendous advantage in terms of additional exposure. However, perhaps the number one benefit is the cultural appreciation that I get from understanding the wants, needs, and expectations of potential buyers from around the world. That is why I personally join my team at our booths at real estate events around the world. That, plus, the pool at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi is very nice!