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October 28, 2016
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China City plans for Thompson

This is an artist’s rendering of the China City of America project proposed for the Town of Thompson
Contributed graphic

If the CCAP project is approved, it will not be the first project in the United States with that name. According to a 2012 story in the Dayton Daily News, a group of Chinese investors called Sino-Michigan Properties LLC bought about 200 acres of farmland for $1.9 million in a rural spot between Toledo, OH and Detroit, MI to be called China City. The paper said the land would be used for houses that would be marketed to Chinese residents who wish to start businesses in the United Stated.

Articles about that China City project have been reposted on local blogs, but there is apparently no connection between the two projects. Tom Shepstone, the project manager of CCAP, said he would be “very surprised” if there is any connection between the two.

The explanation for the coincidence is more likely that there is currently a great deal of interest in real estate investments in the United States among the rapidly-growing wealthy class in China.

Writing about Chinese investment in Detroit in an opinion piece on the Forbes website, (tinyurl.com/lovdqyw) author Gordon Chang wrote, “The bigger story is that the parking of wealth offshore indicates capital flight. The Chinese have only 13% of their wealth outside China, according to Oliver Williams of WealthInsight, while the global average is 20% to 30%, so some transfers of wealth abroad are normal for a developing society.

“But it’s not just money that is fleeing. A study conducted by Bank of China and Hurun found that more than half of China’s millionaires have taken steps to emigrate or are considering doing so.”

So investment in Detroit by wealthy Chinese residents is likely to continue, and also perhaps in Sullivan County.