More Chinese buyers for California Real Estate

Chinese family invest in US real estateIn January 2015, President Obama announced a new plan to further open the American door to the Chinese and predicted that this new visa agreement could inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. “Under the current arrangement, visas between our two countries last for only one year. Under the new arrangement, student and exchange visas will be extended to five years; business and tourist visas will be extended to ten years,” said President Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.
Prior to this agreement, Chinese citizens had to renew their American business, tourist, and student visas annually. This visa regulation for travel from China to the U.S. was “one of the biggest stumbling blocks” for Chinese buyers of U.S. real estate, said Simon Henry, co-chief executive of www. juwai.com, China’s largest international real estate website. According to the White House, 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. in 2013, generating $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy, and with this new visa law, up to 7.3 million Chinese visitors are projected to visit America in 2021, contributing roughly $85 billion per year to the U.S. economy, predicts U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
But what impact will this new visa law have on the real estate market here in Silicon Valley? We predict the local real estate market will receive a further boost as a result of the new U.S./China visa agreement. The new business and tourist visas will encourage more Chinese to travel to the U.S. and stay for longer periods of time. Likewise, with the extension of student visas, more Chinese parents will consider sending their children to U.S. schools. For these Chinese, having a permanent place to live while working or studying will be important.
For years, many affluent Chinese looked to U.S. real estate due to its stability and diversification. The new visa agreement will encourage those on the fence to consider taking the plunge and investing in U.S. properties. Not only will it be easier for them to come to the U.S., but it will also be easier for their friends and family to make frequent visits. Given our thriving local economy, appreciating real estate market, excellent schools, and great weather, Silicon Valley properties will be serious considerations for these folks. Moreover, Silicon Valley properties are considered reasonable compared to those in Shanghai or Beijing. “International buyers…are often surprised at how reasonable our prices appear,” says Ken DeLeon, founder of DeLeon Realty.
While the new visa agreement will likely contribute greater investment into the U.S. market, China’s strict currency regulations remain in effect, and we have seen enhanced enforcement by the Chinese central government over the past six months. These regulations prevent large amounts of currency from moving out of China. For example, Chinese nationals are allowed to transfer the equivalent of U.S. $50,000 per year into a foreign bank account. Given the hot, all-cash, non-contingent real estate market in Silicon Valley, buyers from China looking to purchase properties in this area should plan ahead and care should be given to ensure compliance with all U.S. and foreign laws. Additionally, these buyers should be prepared to provide proof to sellers that the funds are available. Along the same vein, sellers and agents should request for proof of funds with the offer letter to ensure that the buyers have the ability to close on time. Furthermore, when verifying funds, listing agents must understand the significant differences between the rules that apply to mainland China and to Hong Kong, which is classified separately as a special administrative region.
“California Realtors must also be aware that most of Mainland Chinese investors interested to buy U.S. properties over $5M will use funds coming from Caribbean banks or Switzerland banks, to avoid the Chinese regulations on currency control”, said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus Magazines LLC, the publishing company of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, a publication for the wealthy Chinese.
The market for Chinese investors in the U.S. is therefore much bigger than “official” forecasts. It’s time for Realtors to be proactive with Chinese buyers and increase their presence in Chinese media.

References:
1. Kenneth Rapoza, “Obama’s New Visa Law Seen Helping Chinese Buy U.S. Real Estate,” http://www.forbes.com, November 14, 2014.
2. E. Scott Reckard, Andrew Khouri, Hugo Martin, “New Visa Rules Expected To Boost U.S.-China Tourism, Investment,” http://www.latimes. com, November 13, 2014.
3. Ken DeLeon, “Worldwide Real Estate Impact On Silicon Valley,” DeLeon Insight, September 2014.
4. Pierre Gervois, “How U.S. Retail, Travel, and Hospitality Industries Can Attract Affluent Chinese Tourists” , June 2012, China Elite Focus Editions. ASIN: B008L98Q3U

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New York City expects 1 million visitors from China by the end of 2018 (and probably sooner)

Chinese tourists - ManhattanNew York City hopes to reach 67 million annual visitors by 2021, and a big part of the plan is attracting big spenders from places like China and Brazil.
Of that 67 million goal, New York expects 16 million will come from international markets, and 51 million stateside. Based on city figures, 965,000 tourists came from Brazil, and 809,000 from China last year, which ranked Nos. 2 and 3 in international tourism to the city.
“China’s been growing a little faster in percentage from a rate-of-growth perspective, so China’s been a huge growth market for us,” said Christopher Heywood, spokesman for NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism bureau. “Brazil in the last few years has also been [growing], and it still will grow this year, but our big focus is on China.”
An informal survey by China Daily of major US tourist cities finds that the Chinese and Brazilians are substantially increasing their visits.
New York expects 1 million visitors from China by the end of 2018, Heywood said.
Only a few years ago, Brazil and China were not ranked in the top three international markets for New York, but have overtaken European markets such as France, Germany, and Italy.
“One thing about Brazil and Chinese is they don’t mind coming in the winter months, so for Lunar New Year, a lot of our Chinese visitors come during that period,” Heywood said. “The Brazil market, they don’t mind the novelty of being in the snow and being in the cold, so they don’t mind coming in those winter weather months, which is exactly the time of year we want to fill the gap and create more demand during the first quarter,” Heywood said.
Las Vegas is seeing a steady increase of travelers from the two countries, which along with Australia, have been major growth markets for the gambling capital, despite not having direct flights to any of the three countries.
“Our market share and growth has been very good, and our growth in Las Vegas over the last three years has been slightly higher than the growth to the US from China, so we feel very comfortable about that,” said Rafael Villanueva, senior director of international sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
“We realize that we’re not going to go out there and get gobs and millions immediately, so we want to do it correctly,” he said. “As the second-tier cities in China start opening up, that’s going to be our volume market.”

“Chinese businessmen like Vegas to close business deals with their American business partners” noted Pierre Gervois, Publisher of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine. ” we have seen a trend since the beginning of 2015, where Chinese Executives came to New York City for business, and organized a two days trip to Vegas, inviting their U.S. counterparts -sometimes in private jets-, in order to close their business deal and have good time”, Gervois added.
Those are the visitors who are going to the US to experience what Villanueva called the “sampler plate”. He said “they came and visited 10 cities in the two to three weeks they were here, and now they’re coming to the US to spend a little more time in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas”.
Las Vegas welcomed 300,000 visitors from China in 2013, up from 263,000 in 2012, and 187,000 from Brazil in 2013, up from 161,000.
The Chinese make up a much smaller portion of Miami’s visitors, but there is growth. The city doesn’t have specific data on the number of Chinese tourists, only air studies completed by the city’s airport air service consultant, and it estimates that the Miami market generated 55,000 Chinese passengers in 2014.

Source: China Daily USA / Amy He

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Tyron Cutner, NYC famous fashion adviser joins the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine

Tyron Cutner - Shanghai Travelers Club - Mens Fashion EditorThe Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, China’s leading luxury travel magazine for High Net Worth global Chinese travelers, launches a new monthly regular section about Men’s Fashion.

“As Chinese entrepreneurs are becoming more and more international, they are more attentive to their personal style while in business meetings or in corporate events” said Pierre Gervois, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief.

The newly appointed Men’s Fashion Editor, Tyron Cutner, will be in charge of this new editorial feature.  An expert in men’s fashion, Tyron Cutner is a well known fashion adviser in New York City and will bring his expertise and style to the publication.

“I feel proud to be part of the prestigious Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine. Every month, we’ll share with our Chinese readers the latest trends in Men’s fashion and accessories, as well as the basics that every international gentleman must have in his suitcase when traveling”, said Tyron Cutner.

Every month, starting in September 2015, the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine will feature a section providing fashion advice for the modern, style conscious, Chinese businessman.  Wether he’s attending a negotiation meeting in New York City, at a Charity ball in London, or attending a gala dinner in Paris.

According to a survey by China Elite Focus, 74% of Chinese male entrepreneurs and top executives aged 30 to 45 agree that paying attention to their personal style has a positive impact in conducting business.  And a staggering 81% think that they receive a “Disappointing” or “Very disappointing” welcome when shopping in the United States.

“It’s also important that fashion brands realize that they need to substantially improve the way they interact with affluent Chinese customers in the United States. We hope that this new editorial content will encourage U.S. retailers to implement long awaited changes in the customer service towards Chinese travelers”, Pierre Gervois added.

The Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine is a China Elite Focus Magazines LLC publication withg offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York City.

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Average Chinese Tourist Spends $6,000 per California Visit

wealthy Chinese - Shanghai Travelers ClubAccording to the California Travel and Tourism Commission, Chinese tourists’ average spending of $6,000 per person during a trip to the US is the highest in the world. Wide selections of designer’s bags and shoes drive Chinese to California on shopping sprees. A 7,000-member Chinese tour group traveled to California last summer, and each member spent $10,000 on average during their one-week stay.
The biggest driver of this growth appears to have been the visa policy approved by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November 2014, the two leaders agreed to extend tourist visas to 10 years and student visas to five years.
Following the November agreement, U.S. consulates in China have recorded a 68 percent increase in visa issuance, indicating a spectacular increase in the plans for Chinese to visit the U.S. in the future, with most coming at least initially to California.
At the fall 2014 “Visit California Outlook Forum” attended by over 500 California tourism industry professionals at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs, experts predicted that Chinese visitors will spend $2.2 billion in California in 2015 and 2016.
The China Daily reported that Kathryn Smits of International Tourism at the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board told the Forum that airline service between China and California major gateways of Los Angeles and San Francisco has increased 44 percent.
Chinese airlines have added new direct flights from Los Angeles to cities in China or plan to add flights due to the availability of Chinese-language services to assist travelers. In July, Air China will add a third daily direct flight from Los-Angeles and Beijing and China Eastern Airlines will start direct service to Hefei, in southeast China. Both airlines credit the relaxed visa policy for accelerating growth. Famous Chinese luxury travel magazines, such as the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, publish more content about California as it’s seen as a U.S. “premium” destination for wealthy Chinese.
The Beverly Hills Visitor Center commented that more than half of the premier stores in Beverly Hills now employ Mandarin Chinese-speaking salespersons. Most stores in Beverly Hills stores accept China’s Union Pay credit card. Five-star Beverly Hills hotels now feature Chinese-style breakfasts and house slippers year round. The Visitor Center also provides shopping maps and discount coupons printed in Chinese.
Well-heeled Chinese tourists seem to like what they have seen on their visits to the Golden State. Southern California real estate agent Le Yuan told the China Daily that he had seen a double-digit increase in clients this January. Many Chinese clients can fly here to see the houses and neighborhood,” Le said. “Travel is just so easy.”

Source: Breitbart

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This business near Yellowstone caters to Chinese tourists — and their desire to shoot big guns

Chinese tourists like shooting range - china elite focusA tour bus pulls up outside the Red Lotus restaurant, one of three Chinese restaurants in a town of about 1,500. Thirty Chinese tourists unload. They immediately start to photograph a nearby sign in Chinese.

“So this sign is saying: ‘soldier, brothers and shooting range’ … you can do it yourself, now, here,” explains my Chinese-English translator, Xuying Wang.
Eric and Beverly Yarger own the indoor range, known in English as Yellowstone Big Gun Fun. They hired someone from China to help them with the Chinese name. And they hire Chinese staff every summer to handle the tourists.
In fact, they set up shop here specifically to cater to vacationing Chinese.
“We were very much aware of the fact that the Chinese come to America to see Yellowstone Park,” Beverly Yarger says. “That’s the number one thing for them to do, and to go to Vegas. And so, we came up here, observed how many tour buses were coming in and how many were Chinese.”
Yellowstone may or may not be the number one attraction, but it is very popular. By opening the only shooting range in town, the Yarger’s have found an activity that Chinese tourists enjoy after spending the day in the park. They estimate that half of their annual business comes from China. Eric Yarger says it’s even more during the summer.
“During the summer, probably 80 percent are Chinese,” he says. “They all like to shoot the AK-47 and the M-4.  If its shiny, they’ll shoot it.”
As we talk, another large group of Chinese tourists comes in after a day in Yellowstone. They’re pretty serious about deciding which guns to shoot. The menu — in Chinese — explains their choices: $25 to shoot a rifle or handgun, $50 for a machine gun and up to $349 for a bit of everything. Their tour guide Kevin Zhang says this is a big deal for his clients.
“In China, they seldom have chance to shoot a real gun,” Zhang says. “So I talk with them, [tell] that it’s legal to shoot a gun in the United States. So they have a strong curiosity to come here. Most of them their first time to touch a real gun.”
Choosing a gun was easy for a young man who calls himself “Louis” — he shot the AK-47. Louis says when he plays computer games he uses the AK-47.
Louis says he’ll tell his friends who come here that they should pick a smaller gun, because the AK-47 is very powerful.
But it’s clear that Louis really enjoyed shooting that very powerful gun. He can’t stop smiling. And it’s because of happy clients like this that the Yargers don’t really need to reach out to tour companies in China anymore. Business comes from word of mouth on social media.
Yun Jie from Inner Mongolia was nervous about her first time shooting a gun, so she picked the gentler gun that was recommended. As we speak, she types on her smartphone, telling her friends that she is going to shoot a gun in America. She says she is getting a lot of likes.
And that’s something all business people in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, like to hear.

Source: PRI

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The Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine goes monthly

Shanghai Travelers' Club Spring 2014 coverPublished by China Elite Focus Magazines LLC (New York City), the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine has been launched in 2012 as a quarterly magazine in Chinese Mandarin language, featuring a sophisticated content about luxury hotels, lifestyle, private aviation and profiles of famous entrepreneurs.
Considered to be one of the finest luxury travel publications, the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine has been a leader in introducing a vision of understated luxury travel for the new generation of high net worth Chinese world travelers.

Read and trusted by 50,000 Chinese frequent travelers, this magazine is considered by its readers as a trusted and independent voice, publishing stories of uncompromising quality about the finest international travel experiences.

Starting with the April 2015 issue, published on March 20, 2015, the Shanghai Travelers’ Club becomes a monthly publication. Featuring 40% content about the United States, #1 destination for wealthy Chinese travelers, this publication is the most influential travel magazine reaching Chinese frequent travelers.

“Going from quarterly to monthly is an amazing achievement for our editorial team” said Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus Magazines and Publisher of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine. “We have been working on this project for six months, due to the success of the magazine and the constant demands from our readers to have more content. We had to expand our editorial team at our Shanghai office, under the direction of Elaine Ke, our Senior Travel Editor” added Pierre Gervois.

With an office in Shanghai and in New York City, the now monthly Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine will consolidate its position as a leading travel & lifestyle media, targeting the world’s most affluent consumers.

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Beverly Hills rolls out red carpet for Chinese tourists

Julie Wagner -Beverly Hills - Shanghai Travelers Club

Chinese New Year is coming to Tinseltown, again. But this time in an even bigger way.

The Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau (BHCVB) announced Thursday that the city is going to stage a month-long celebration of Chinese New Year starting Feb 1.

It will be the fourth annual Chinese New Year celebration in Beverly Hills. This year, through a partnership with China International Culture Association, Beverly Hills will feature internationally acclaimed entertainment from Beijing in a special one-night event on Feb 1 at Saban Theatre, which will serve as a kick-off of Happy Chinese New Year – Beijing Culture Month.

The program will feature notable acts from the Beijing Performance & Arts Group, including acrobats from the China National Acrobatic Troupe and a Peking Opera piece performed by renowned artist Chen Junhua.

Musical acts will include a pipa solo by Zhou Hui, an erhu performance by Song Fei, known as China’s “Queen of the Erhu”, and a performance by China’s violin master Lu Siqing, among others.

Che Zhaohe, culture consul of China’s Consulate General in Los Angeles, announced that a photography exhibition entitled Charming Beijing, Passionate Winter Olympics will be on display at the same time at the Saban Theatre, featuring 60 images captured in Beijing by world-renowned photographers, including American photographer Joe McNally.

Che also said that China’s intangible cultural heritage will be represented by Tu’er Ye figures, Zhang clay sculptures, Yu family kites, cloth paste paintings and ancient Chinese toys such as the Mao Hou, a tiny monkey shaped toy made with plants and cicada shells.

“It is an honor to have such remarkable talent travel all the way from Beijing to share their inspiring performances and art as we celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 and the Year of the Sheep,” said Julie Wagner, CEO of BHCVB.

As the new visa policy applies, Wagner expects to host more tourists from China during this Chinese New Year holiday. She said participating hotels in Beverly Hills will offer special packages to Chinese guests throughout the month of February. The packages will welcome guests with popular Chinese amenities such as in-room hot water kettles with Chinese tea, Chinese newspapers, slippers and Chinese breakfasts.

In addition, most Beverly Hills hotels and stores will have Mandarin-speaking staff on-site and the visitors’ center will provide walking maps and directories in Chinese. The city’s website has a Chinese version and most stores accept Union Pay.

“We want Chinese tourists and local Chinese residents to feel at home during this family-oriented and most important holiday of the year,” said Wagner. “This is just one of the ways to show our appreciation to the Chinese people who bring business to Beverly Hills. We also want to take this opportunity to enhance our friendship with China as always.”

“The new visa policy will help to promote cultural exchange,” she said.

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