Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle has announced the opening of an office in the Chinese port city of Qingdao, location of the sailing events in next yearÆs Olympic Games. It has appointed Jeff Weidenborner as its managing director.

He had previously worked in his self-founded enterprise, Sienna Commercial Qingdao Realty Advisors, and he is now bringing his entire team over to Jones Lang LaSalle. Before then he had worked at commercial property firm Cushman and Wakefield in Beijing and at the director level for USI and Charles Dunn in Los Angeles.

ôThere are cranes everywhere you look in Qingdao,ö Weidenborner says. ôIt is still mostly domestic players investing here, although foreigners have been kicking the tyres and already have undertaken several transactions in various sectors.ö

Today, there are over 7 million people in Qingdao, about a third of whom live in the urban core. The place has a colourful past. In 1897, Qingdao was ceded to Germany, under whose administration the first streets and buildings of what is now QingdaoÆs old town were built. The city returned to Chinese rule in 1922. It is now a modern port city, and home the ChinaÆs third largest sea port and serves as the headquarters of the Chinese navy's northern fleet.

The city is also a manufacturing and logistics centre, and the home of major Chinese brands like Haier, Hisense and Aucma. Qingdao is also home to several large state-level industrial zones, incorporating high tech, chemicals, rubber and heavy manufacturing.

Qingdao is perhaps best known for its tourist beaches and the Tsingtao Brewery, founded by German settlers, and which produces Tsingtao beer, which is the favourite beverage of the annual Qingdao International Beer Festival as well as a staple of Hong Kong bars.