China Has Its Eye On Mallorca
A little over a year since Nanjing-based Jiangsu GRPO International Business purchased five-star Hotel Valparaiso in Palma, Chinese businessmen and dignitaries have been back to the Island to discuss further investment.
In March, the Economic Advisor from the Chinese Embassy, the President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Investment in Spain, the Chinese Ambassador, and representatives from 23 major Chinese investment groups with interests in Spain, attended a meeting in Palma de Mallorca. They confirmed that they were targeting large-scale investment in the Island’s tourist and real estate sectors – primarily at luxury level. Then, at the end of May, Prime Minister Li Keqiang, the second most powerful man in the country (and 13th most powerful person in the world 2014 according to Forbes) came with an entourage of 120 to cement, and accelerate, these Chinese intentions. They, of course, booked out the entire GRPO Hotel Valparaiso Palace & Spa for their two-day visit.
Alejandra Vanoli, Managing Director of Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty, says “China has already invested a billion in Spain and, as the world’s largest economy, has plenty more to spend. Luxury property and tourism are high on the list, largely due to the expectation that many more Chinese nationals will holiday and live in Spain in the future. 300,000 Chinese are predicted to visit Spain in 2015, rising to a million by the end of the decade. And, with more than 100 million Chinese going on holiday this year, the potential is obvious. Likewise, the Golden Visa has attracted 530 foreigners since its introduction in September 2013, with most property investors being Chinese, Russian or Arab. Little wonder Li Keqiang is keen to increase cultural exchanges and trade relations between the two nations.”
“Already in 2015 we have sold to one Chinese buyer and are in negotiations with a second,” continues Alejandra. “The first selected a modern-design seven-bedroom refurbished Palma palace, close to the waterfront to indulge their love of sailing, and the second is keen to secure a buy-to-let home that will someday become a second residence. The appetite is certainly there and, as the Golden Visa requirements continue to relax and Chinese authorities keep up their constant flow of money and ideas to Mallorca, we will certainly feel the effects at Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty.”
Recent research says that as at 31 December 2014, 4,925,089 foreigners live in Spain – some 56.32% coming from within the EU. The Chinese are the third largest non-European nationality in Spain, and the sixth overall, with 191,078 residents. Furthermore 14 hotels in Spain have been rated ‘Chinese-friendly’ meaning, amongst other characteristics, they have menus in Mandarin and never give a Chinese guest a room on the fourth floor or with the number four in it – a number that sounds similar to the word for ‘death’ and is avoided by Chinese speakers.