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. 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. This would include residential housing units, commercial units, and manufacturing all contained in what they hope to be a special economic zone, a model that the Chinese government has used to great effect on mainland China. now it appears they want to spread that model around the world.
A Chinese group known as “Sino-Michigan Properties LLC” has bought up 200 acres of land near the town of Milan, Michigan. Their plan is to construct a “China City” with artificial lakes, a Chinese cultural center and hundreds of housing units for Chinese citizens. Essentially, it would be a little slice of communist China dropped right into the heartland of America. This “China City” would be located about 40 minutes from both Detroit and Toledo, and it would be marketed to Chinese business people that want to start businesses in the United States. Unfortunately, this is not just an isolated incident. In fact, Chinese companies have been buying up land and businesses all over the country in recent years. There has even been talk of establishing “special economic zones” inside the United States modeled after the Chinese city of Shenzhen. It was inevitable that the Chinese were going to do something with the trillions of dollars that they have made flooding our shores with cheap products. Now they are rapidly buying up pieces of America, and many of our politicians are welcoming them with open arms.
Rather, it appears that all of the new housing will be sold to people coming over from China. According to the Milan News Leader newspaper, the new housing units “would be marketed to Chinese business people who want to start companies in the United States”.
In essence, we would be looking at a new Chinese city right in the middle of Michigan.
Doug Smith, senior vice president for business and community development for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., recently said the following about what the Chinese group plans to do….
“It’s a group that wants to build a China city, starting with housing over there in Milan”
Milan is not far from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which is a very popular destination for Chinese students. Apparently that is one reason why Milan was chosen.
This new project would be a Chinese community built by Chinese and specifically designed for Chinese.
But isn’t this supposed to be America?
Fortunately, the project does not have final approval yet. It still must be approved by the two townships outside of Milan where the land is located.
For some reason, the Chinese seem to be particularly interested in this area of the country.
For example, a different Chinese investment group has been busy buying up chunks of real estate over in nearby Toledo, Ohio. The following is from an article in the Toledo Blade on May 26th, 2011….
Dashing Pacific Group Ltd., which has already purchased the nearby Docks restaurant complex for $2.15 million, put its $3.8 million offer to buy the southern 69 acres at the Marina District in East Toledo back on the table for approval by Toledo City Council. Additionally, Dashing Pacific Chairman Yuan Xiaohong, in a letter signed in Hangzhou, said the firm wants a two-year option to buy the decommissioned Toledo Edison power plant property on the site.
So should we be alarmed that the Chinese are buying up pieces of America?
Well, if they simply wanted to enjoy living in America and wanted to integrate into the wider community that would be one thing.
But it is another thing altogether to start dropping slices of communist China inside of U.S. territory.
In the article entitled “China Wants To Construct A 50 Square Mile Self-Sustaining City South Of Boise, Idaho“, a potential deal that Sinomach (a company controlled by the Chinese government) was exploring with the government of Idaho. The following is a description of that potential project from an article in the Idaho Statesman….
A Chinese national company is interested in developing a 10,000- to 30,000-acre technology zone for industry, retail centers and homes south of the Boise Airport.
There was talk that this “technology zone” would be modeled after the “special economic zones” that have been developed in China. The city of Shenzhen is perhaps the most famous example of this.
Fortunately that deal appears to have stalled, but other mammoth deals have been moving forward in other parts of the country.
For example, the Chinese have been very busy gobbling up oil and gas fields. The following is a quote from a local Texas news source about a deal that a company owned by the Chinese government did with Chesapeake Energy down in Texas….
State-owned Chinese energy giant CNOOC is buying a multibillion-dollar stake in 600,000 acres of South Texas oil and gas fields, potentially testing the political waters for further expansion into U.S. energy reserves.
With the announcement Monday that it would pay up to $2.2 billion for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy assets, CNOOC lays claim to a share of properties that eventually could produce up to half a million barrels a day of oil equivalent.
So is it really a good idea to be allowing the Chinese to buy up our precious energy resources?
Sadly, the examples noted above are not isolated incidents. The truth is that the Chinese have been snapping up real estate and business assets all over America as a recent Forbes article explained….
According to a recent report in the New York Times, investors from China are “snapping up luxury apartments” and are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies also have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, the report said.
So get ready – the Chinese are buying up U.S. land and they are moving in whether you like it or not.
So what will the long-term consequences be of allowing a communist superpower to buy up large sections of America?
That is a very good question.
They have bought a financial interest in 600,000 acres of natural gas and oil fields in Texas, they are exploring a 30,000 acre industrial zone in Boise Idaho, they have started the process of putting a power plant in Toledo Ohio on land they own, and the list goes on.
The Chinese have been buying real estate in the US for awhile now, but this move into infrastructural areas such as power plants, manufacturing facilities, oil and gas fields etc., are concerning to many residents. The long term implications are unclear, but we do know that we’re moving into uncharted territory by allowing an enemy country to gain such a significant foothold within our borders.
To better understand their long term strategy here, it might be worth looking at the Chinese game of Go (click here for the Wikipedia article on Go). Go, or weiqi as it is known in China is a game of strategy, in the way that many westerners consider chess to be a game of strategy. The goals are very different though.
In chess, the goal is to attack and capture pieces with the goal of forcing the king to surrender. However, the goal of weiqi is simply to control territory, thereby controlling your opponent. You do not need to waste resources trying to capture your opponent, because if you control their territory, you control your opponent anyway.
The real world advantage of adopting an eastern weiqi strategy versus a western chess strategy is that you are able to exert more control while expending fewer resources. You can simply look to US efforts to exert influence in the Middle East as an example of this. Now ask yourself how many resources China is wasting with their approach?
Before you dismiss the analogy of a game to the recent territorial grabs by China here in the US, understand that the game of weiqi has been used for over 2,000 years to train diplomats and business men in China in matters of strategy. Sun Tzu’s Art of War is founded on weiqi principals, and it shapes everything they do in business and politics. The territorial grab we’re seeing now is all just part of the game.