Chinese Investors Developing U.S. City

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Not content to only ship their goods into the U.S. from overseas, Chinese investors are increasingly moving their operations into the United States itself. While many times this means purchasing established U.S. companies, it has recently taken the form of grooming certain areas of the United States for Chinese nationals to move in and establish their own companies. We have seen proposals in the past for “tech zones,” where Chinese companies could establish operations to increase their level of competitiveness in bidding for American contracts. Just recently it has come to light that Chinese investors have purchased 200 acres of land in Milan, Michigan to establish a housing complex for Chinese individuals who want to start businesses in the United States. With this increased access to the U.S. and a ready flow of capital from back home, there is a very real possibility that these individuals could drive American companies out of business.

Starting last year, a group of Chinese investors began buying up the land in Michigan near the Ohio border — a short drive from many prime industrial areas and education centers such as the University of Michigan. The group, Sino-Michigan Properties LLC, plans to build 415 housing units on the land, along with artificial lakes and a cultural center. These housing units, some of which may be 6,000 square feet in size, are targeted at Chinese business people who want to establish operations in the United States.  The exact intentions of the group are still somewhat unknown, but the huge scale of the project raises questions.

This project is not finalized yet, but with the land in the possession of investors it seems only a matter of time before it moves forward. Last year there was talk of Chinese investors creating “tech zones” in the United States on a scale far larger than the Milan investment. State-owned Chinese company Sinomach proposed a “10,000 to 30,000 acre technology zone for industry, retail centers, and homes south of the Boise Airport.” There has been little word on the proposal since then, but these investment proposals should lead Americans to ask what type of foreign investment is good for the country.

Some of our government officials court this kind of investment, claiming that it will provide jobs for American workers. These proposals seem to be squarely focused on benefiting Chinese individuals. When foreign companies invest in the United States we may see a meager number of jobs created, but the profits still go overseas. When these investors create companies in the United States, they bypass the few trade protections we still have. This puts true American companies at risk, and we cannot afford this.

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