Snakeoil goes back to China

by BN03 May 2012

The Chinese (as a nation and economic bloc) may be sitting pretty, taking it up to the long-dominant Western behemoths like the US in long, GDP-jumping strides – but that doesn’t mean all of the Chinese (especially those with money to invest) have to like it. In fact, many of the richest Chinese citizens, concerned with future social cohesion and stability, are looking elsewhere – and often at Australia – as potential places to emigrate, both for themselves and their money. Enter the international real estate agents, who, described as modern-day ‘snakeoil salesmen’ are capitalising on the aspirant desires of China’s new rich by selling them a promise of easy citizenship via investment in Australian property. Of course, the spruikers are often heavy on detail when it comes to the property investment side of things (property always goes up, etc etc), and light on the nitty gritty of getting permanent residency post-purchase. Indeed, in property expos based in the capital Beijing, halls full of these aforementioned salesmen promise the world – or at least a place in another part of the world – outside of China, all for the price of some bricks and mortar. The catch? It’s not as easy as the salesmen make out. After all, it requires $600K in Australian assets and a controlling share in a company for more than two years with a turnover of more than $350K. Seems a whole lot like peddling good old Chinese snake oil to me.