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Ambassador Gary Locke helps promote American real estate

Photo: WWW.M4.CN

The outgoing US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, is taking his time to push for more Chinese investment in the United States.  At the Ambassador’s Investment Forum this Monday (December 16), Gary Locke gave a keynote speech advocating America’s real estate market.

According to Ambassador Locke, the American real estate market is now in a rebound period and there is still room to grow, considering the fact that the market has limited stock and could also benefit from low lending rates. In the past two years, Gary Locke has made the task of promoting Chinese investment in the US his top priority and the past two years also witnessed an explosion of Chinese investment in the US, exceeding the sum of the past 11 years.

From the beginning of this year, Chinese investors have finished several hefty investments in America’s real estate market. This February, China Vanke announced to jointly develop an apartment project in San Francisco with a local company, which is Vanke’s initial devotion in the North American market. This June, Zhang Xin (张欣), the CEO of China SOHO, together with a consortium, spent US$ 0.7 billion to acquire a 40% stake of the GM building in New York. In August, Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin (王健林) disclosed that Wanda would invest in a US$ 1 billion luxury hotel project in New York. In October, Greenland Group announced to acquire 70% stocks of an apartment project in Brooklyn, and Fosun Group has purchased New York's landmark building, One Chase Manhattan Plaza.

Zhang Xin indicated that until now she has made two deals in America’s real estate market in her own name, for that after the 2008 financial crisis, she began to realize it’s time to enter the US market.

The financial crisis offered a golden timing for Chinese real estate investors to hunt for bargains in the American market. The president of Xinyuan Real Estate Co ., Ltd., Cui Yong, told the 21st Century Business Herald that from 2011, the company has bought into three projects respectively in New York, Logs Angeles, and Nevada. He thinks the deals to be quite a bargain. It’s like buying a house located around the East Forth Ring Road in Beijing at the price of houses on the East Sixth Ring Road.

In 2007, Xinyuan went public on the New York Stock Exchange and became the first Chinese real estate company to get listed there. According to Cui Yong, for one of their residential apartment projects that is to go on sale from next March, around 50% of customers would be Chinese, and especially new immigrants.

Ren Zhiqiang (任志强), one of China’s top real estate tycoons and the CEO of Huayuan Property said, currently, Chinese investors focus on projects in San Francisco, Logs Angeles and New York. He thinks highly of America’s real estate market and regards it as a mature market usually with high return on investment.

The vice mayor of Washington DC Victor Hoskins told the reporter, Wanda and Wanke are now also finding good investment opportunities there.

Over 10 American real estate projects are seeking potential Chinese investors during the forum, including the residential project in San Francisco, luxury hotel and office building in Seattle, Washington DC, and New York. The projects mainly targeted at new immigrants from Chinese mainland.

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