Last year, Chinese investors interested in buying or developing property in Southern California peppered World Trade Center Los Angeles officials with questions about how best to break into the market.
What’s the difference between city governments and county governments, they might ask. Or, are tax incentives for hotel builders better in Los Angeles or Santa Monica?
But daily questions such as those have nearly ceased as China’s feared pullback from overseas investments has been borne out.
“Our time used to be dominated by Chinese interests because of the billions of dollars flowing in from China alone,” said Cheung, who once helped a company that wanted to enter the L.A. market and instead mistakenly signed a memorandum of understanding with Pasadena.
Chinese companies have been among the biggest commercial real estate investors in the Los Angeles area in the last five years, spending more than $5 billion to buy property in the region during that time, according to brokerage Cushman and Wakefield. That includes the sites of billion-dollar condominium, hotel and retail complexes being built downtown and large airport-area hotels that have been upgraded by their Chinese owners.
But they are withdrawing from some high-profile ventures as leaders in Beijing constrict the flow of money out of the country. In August, China’s State Council laid down new regulations on outbound investments to reduce the risk of runaway debt and to blunt capital flight.
Also dramatically on the wane is Chinese investment through the federal EB-5 program, which allows foreigners to apply to become legal U.S. residents in exchange for investing…