China and JMBM’s Chinese Investment Group™ are in the news again!

by Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP
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As the significance of Chinese investment in the US continues its rapid growth, news articles regularly document new details of this major trend. And in a recet Los Angeles Times article, Tiffany Hsu provided some interesting facts in an article entitled “Chinese tourism and investment in Southern California surges.” Her article led off with the example of a 15% increase in Chinese travelers at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel. We served as lawyers and business advisors to Shenzen Hazens Real Estate Group (a large Chinese construction company) with its $96 million purchase of the hotel. The article explains that the new owner has put up billboards in China promoting the 802-room hotel near the main entrance of the Los Angeles International Airport. As an example of how important such Chinese investors have become in the United States, Tiffany Hsu also noted that JMBM launched its Chinese Investment Group™ in 2011 to orchestrate deals for Chinese investors in the United States, like the purchase of the Sheraton Gateway, the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor, the Regent hotel brand and other real estate, solar and business investments. Here are a few highlights on the big surge in Chinese tourism and investment in Southern California reported by the Los Angeles Times:

  • Tourism from China into Los Angeles roughly quadrupled over the last five years, growing from 158,000 in 2009 to 570,000 visitors last year, and is expected to almost quadruple again to 2,000,000 by 2020 according to a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LACEDC).

  • The LACEDC reports that Chinese investment interest in Southern California is also very strong. The travel is not just for tourism, but for Chinese people buying homes, businesses and other investments.

  • More Chinese students attend universities in Southern California than any other group of American universities — 10,000 pupils last year, up from 3,000 in 2009.

  • The number of Chinese-owned businesses in Los Angeles county doubled in the last six years.

  • And Southland trade with China is booming. The Los Angeles Customs District saw record trade volume last year valued at $414.5 billion. Of that, imports and exports from China made up more than half — $221.4 billion, up 4.5% from 2012.

  • The Los Angeles-Long Beach ports, which make up part of the district and constitute the ninth busiest port system worldwide, now attribute 60% of their activity to China.

  • Exports to China through Los Angeles grew by 52% in four years to $25.3 billion last year. Instead of the waste and scrap common in the past, those shipments are increasingly made up of electronics, machinery and other valuable goods destined for a fast-growing Chinese middle class.

  • The LACEDC report aptly summarizes the situation as follows: “The futures of Los Angeles and China are inextricably tied together.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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