Business & Economy

Amidst downturn, Shanghai tries to lure LA investors

Thursday's event, called Invest Shanghai, included both investors interested in opportunities in China and those wanting to bring more Chinese investment into Southern California
Thursday's event, called Invest Shanghai, included both investors interested in opportunities in China and those wanting to bring more Chinese investment into Southern California
John Chandler/flickr Creative Commons

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As Chinese President Xi Jinping continued his United States tour Thursday, officials from Shanghai tried to sell local investors on China’s biggest city in downtown Los Angeles, which has become a harder pitch lately.

China’s stock market is down about 45 percent since June and its once booming economy is slowing. Still, Gu Jun, vice-chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, which is China's version of a Chamber of Commerce, said (using an interpreter) that investors only need to visit China to see that the country is still a great growth opportunity.

"For the first half of this year the GDP growth rate of China was 7 percent," said Jun. "If you compare it to other places in the world, 7 percent is not that bad.”

Seven percent wouldn’t be bad at all – it's about twice the current U.S. growth rate – but many economists have questioned whether that figure is accurate.

Thursday's event, called Invest Shanghai, included both investors interested in opportunities in China and those wanting to bring more Chinese investment into Southern California, such as Richard Dozier, who works on attracting Chinese investment into Riverside County. He doesn't believe the Chinese money spigot will slow much because he expects the central government to play an active role.

“We see the major players will adjust and try to stabilize their markets,” said Dozier, who also added a more cautious note: "When a major player like China adjusts their economy, we worry because we're going to have to adjust our economy in some way."

Dozier says Riverside County has hundreds of millions worth of Chinese-funded projects ready to go, and he still thinks they will get built.

When it comes to U.S. investment in China, American investors should not be scared away, but they have to do their due diligence, said Ivy Xiao, a Santa Monica-based financial advisor at Morgan Stanley.

“We need to be very selective about what companies we invest in," said Xiao.