Chinese Influence on Northern Virginia

Chinese Influence on Northern Virginia: Cultural Contributions and Famous Faces

Asians are the second fastest growing demographic in Virginia. While that includes all residents of Asian descent, from India to Pakistan to Burma, it also includes China. Chinese residents are flocking to northern Virginia in numbers never before seen, drawn by real estate investing, the promise of good jobs, affordable housing, and the chance to be part of thriving Asian population. While those are influences of the state on residents, the Chinese have also helped to shape the state itself in a number of ways.

Arlington, Virginia

Great Wall Supermarket

While the Great Wall supermarket chain might be based in New York City, it’s certainly had an effect on northern Virginia, and caters to the state’s growing Chinese and Asian population. Led by president, CEO and founder Lihui Zhang, Great Wall fuses East and West in a unique combination by providing Asian foods in a Western style supermarket layout. Currently, the company has a location in Falls Church, but there’s always the possibility that it will expand to other areas.

Peter Chang

When it comes to influence, the ancients new best. “An army marches on its stomach” is an old axiom for the fact that without food, no one does much of anything. Food is an integral part of American society these days, and one Chinese embassy chef turned restauranteur is having a big impact on the entire state of Virginia. Peter Chang made waves when he cooked for the Chinese embassy, but he’s since turned that passion into profit. Today, he operates three successful restaurants in the Richmond and Fredericksburg area. He also intends to push out into D.C. In addition to his established restaurants (each of which is a standalone eatery), Chang intends to open a chain in Virginia, staffed by handpicked Chinese students who learn directly from him.

Good for the Community

Peter Chang isn’t limited to influencing the culinary choices of Virginians. He’s also a humanitarian, and was instrumental in starting a charitable movement geared to providing cold water to high school athletes. Chang partnered with the principal of Massaponax High School (Dr. Joe Pisani), and will donate 5% of each check to provide the school with five-gallon water coolers for every classroom on campus.

Helen Wan

Author and lawyer Helen Wan is a native of northern Virginia, and grew up in Burke. She made waves with her debut book, The Partner Track, which took an uncompromising look at diversity in the legal workplace, and the effect of ham-fisted attempts to make companies more culturally aware. She has earned praise from sources from the Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post, and as a result of the book’s success and acceptance, as well as her honest portrayal of the hurdles facing Chinese and other minorities in today’s workplace, she has been invited to speak at groups including the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

These are just a few of the ways that Virginia’s Chinese residents have influenced the state.




Real Estate Brings Chinese Investors to the U.S.

Real Estate Brings Chinese Investors to the US

Real estate has always been one of the best forms of investment – land exists no matter what the stock market might do. It’s a permanent form of investment that doesn’t rely on a company’s performance to back its value. Moreover, it’s an investment that can be appreciated by individuals from almost any culture. These are just a couple of the drivers fueling the influx of Chinese investors into the US real estate market.

Modern Office Buildings Downtown Rossyln, Virginia, VA

Unstable Home Market

Chinese real estate investors have many reasons to consider putting their money into US possessions rather than those closer to home. CNBC notes that governmental controls in China are so tight, the future of investments so limited, that sending their money abroad makes much more sense. These investors see the US government as protecting their real estate, whereas the Chinese government is likely to take their properties away.

And while the Chinese people have prospered, growing richer as their national economy outpaces most other countries, China isn’t an ideal place to invest those growing funds. An article in RealtorMag cites a number of reasons for Chinese nationals looking to send their money abroad, including growing pollution, food safety and even the increase in traffic. The government’s stringent control over financial institutions in the real estate investment sector is another huge driver.

The ongoing “anti-corruption” efforts in China are also affecting the decision to send money abroad. Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently embroiled in what CNBC calls, “the most extensive effort to root out ill-gotten gains”, which translates to the government attempting to take control of funds that it may not actually have any right to. That fuels further distrust amongst the Chinese people, giving investors an incentive to protect their wealth by diversifying it on the international market. US real estate is an ideal option here.

philadelphia brownstones

An Unprecedented Scale of Investors

Chinese real estate investors have as many different wants and needs in properties as any others, but they’re increasingly finding that the US market meets those requirements. Over $40 billion has been put into US real estate by Chinese investors since 2000, and that trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Where Are They Investing?

While the US as a whole might be drawing in Chinese investors, they’re not investing evenly across all 50 states. There are obvious hotspots, like California and New York, but there are others that might come as something of a surprise. North Carolina and South Carolina are in the top 15 states receiving the highest investment activity from Chinese investors, but Virginia actually outranks all other states in terms of dollar value invested. Seven states have received no interest from investors, though, including Maine, West Virginia, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

In the end, Chinese real estate investors are flocking to American properties, and it is a good thing for both buyers and sellers, with the pace of investment intensifying year after year.

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Real Estate Brings Chinese Investors to the U.S.