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Chinese Millionaires Flocking in Australia, 8.5bn Deals Reached

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By Athena Yenko | February 19, 2014 2:34 PM EST

Chinese are the nine out of ten applicants for Australia's new special investment visas called the sub-class 188.

The sub-class 188 is a scheme which favours visa applicants who are equipped to bring in over $440 million to Australia. So far there are already 65 Chinese millionaires who had qualified for the scheme, according to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. All in all, these Chinese had invested 26.5 million yuan according to market analysts. Their investments went to state government bonds, specific infrastructure and property investments mostly in Victoria and NSW.

Applying for the sub-class 188 proves easy for the Chinese as there are no language requirement, no age limit and applicants need not set up a business in Australia. Applicants will just have to undergo a criminal record check and a stamp of approval from the state government when they eventually are getting their passports.

Meanwhile, ordinary Chinese are also flocking real estate's web sites in Australia, hoping to purchase property in the country.

Realestate.com.au had launched a web site specially targeted for the Chinese people. The web site was created to "facilitate property transactions" for the 46,000 properties listed.

"We know that Chinese consumers have an enormous interest in property in Australia, Henry Ruiz,Chief Product Officer at REA Group said. The new web site was created following the success of juwai.com which Australian expats and former REA group employees Andrew Taylor and Simon Henry set up in China in 2011.

Chinese are showing interests on properties in suburbs with local universities and schools nearby.

With the great interest coming from the Chinese, Sydney and Melbourne house prices increased in 2013, Australian Property Monitors observed. Melbourne properties increased by 11 per cent while Sydney properties increased by 13 per cent in the past 12 months.

More and more Chinese are expressing plans to leave their countries. A report from the research firm Hurun found almost two-thirds of Chinese with more than 10 million yuan in the bank have emigrated, or are making plans to.

Wealthy Chinese moved 2.8 trillion yuan worth of assets offshore in 2011 according to a report from the Chinese think tank Center for China and Globalization - approximately three percent of the country's GDP for that year.

Consequently, China's mergers and acquisitions in Australia jumped by 34 per cent in 2013 to $8.5 billion which was the highest level since 2009, The Australian reports.

Andrew Parker, the head of PwC's Asian said that there had been an increase in the share of total outbound investment to 15 per cent, compared with 12 per cent in 2011 and 9 per cent in 2012 among the Chinese.

"It is entirely possible that China's investment allocation may now be considered to be overweight in Australia," Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker expressed that Australians should be concern about the Australian government allowing too much investment from China. He explained that Australia's ability to attract foreign capital strengthen the prosperity of all Australians.

More than any other investment, Mr Parker said that Australia should prioritise closing a free trade agreement with China that included promoting the foreign investment review threshold.

"When you consider that China's investment in offshore markets may top $550bn in the next five years, the opportunity cost of not seeking greater engagement with China is clear."

Mr Parker predicted that Chinese overseas investments will inflate for 2014 as the National Development and Reform Commission plans to open its regulations for deals worth less than $1.1bn.

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