Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is China reconstructing America and making a profit from Western decay?

Chinese banks have poured more than $1 billion into real estate loans in New York City in the past year. Investors from China are snapping up luxury apartments and planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, which is the centerpiece of the rebuilding at ground zero.

Investment in the city by companies and entrepreneurs from China has been surging in the last few years, recalling the boom in Japanese investment that swept the region in the 1980s and helping to buoy the local economy even as the country as a whole struggles to get out of recession.

The Chinese investments are occurring with little fanfare, in part because Chinese executives tend to shun publicity. But back home, their government is urging them to invest overseas to diversify Chinas foreign-exchange holdings, develop business partnerships and improve the countrys leverage in international affairs.

Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics, which tracks commercial real estate sales, was combing through his files the other day for deals in New York City that involved Chinese investments. As the list grew longer and longer, he paused, a tone of surprise in his voice. “Its truly amazing how much theyve been able to do without being highlighted in public,” he said. more