Surge in visas issued to Chinese lures developers to NYC

Money from the People's Republic seen spurring investments

From left: China Vanke CEO Yu Liang and Fosun chair Guo Guangchang
From left: China Vanke CEO Yu Liang and Fosun chair Guo Guangchang

In a trend that can be seen both locally and nationally, wealthy citizens in China are receiving the vast majority of  investor visas from the U.S. government.

About 80 percent of the recipients of the visas under the EB-5  program are from China. That program allows foreign nationals to receive residency status after they invest $1 million, or $500,000 in an area with high unemployment. The number of U.S. visas issued to Chinese investors in this program reached 6,895 in 2013, up from less than 2,500 in 2011.

The influx is having a dramatic impact on the real estate market in New York City, as  well as other major metropolitan areas like San Francisco. According to Forbes, an independent poll of Manhattan real estate brokers showed that Chinese investors are now the No. 1 foreign buyers of property in New York, a position that previously belonged to investors from Russia.

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The money from the People’s Republic is also spurring investments by Chinese real estate companies in the U.S. In New York City, Chinese investors are involved with a variety of large scale projects. Greenland Holdings bought a 70 percent stake in the Atlantic Yards project. Shanghai-based Fosun Group purchases One Chase Manhattan Plaza late last year and is looking to invest in more properties.

And China’s largest developer, China Vanke, broke ground on a 61-story residential skyscraper in Manhattan earlier this year. The company bought the property together with two American partners and a Chinese investment fund, according to Forbes. The project seemed to have been particularly interesting for the investor, because of the options of selling the condos to wealthy clients in China.

The boom in Chinese investments in the US and other countries has been fueled by lack of meaningful reforms in China as well as the rising purchasing power of  the country’s consumers, according to the American Enterprise Institute. [Forbes] — Claire Moses