Funny thing about communist countries - while slow off the mark, when they do "economically invade" a region, they do it in a planned and coordinated way. So today's announced purchase by Chinese companies of the Palazzo Versace at the Gold Coast shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. And the Chinese know full-well that destinations like the Gold Coast and Cairns have been in a long tourist drought, which has softened-up the sellers. The Palazzo Versace, a favourite with the monied as well as the bogan class, whom owners Sunland have been trying to unload for some time at $80m, sold to the Chinese at $68m. Financed using all that dosh we've sent them for TV's, white goods, appliances - well, damn near everything we buy now.
You'd be hard pressed to find something other than "Made in China" at the new Masters Hardware. China's now buying up big with our money.
The Chinese are said to be negotiating for the new Hilton Surfer's Paradise as well, and earlier this week we were told Bob "Screwdriver" Manning and others were escorting Chinese investors around Cairns, showing them all the iconic properties we're ready to sell them at cut-rate prices. Is it to late to get them to by the Rex Theater?
Many merchants in the CBD have often noticed and commented about the groups of 4-10 middle-aged Chinese men, ostensibly tourists, wandering the streets and rarely buying anything. Those are your Chinese business executives, who've been studying and cataloging Cairns for years now. Many of them likely know more about our city that we do.
With the door being held wide by pollies on both sides of the chamber, we can expect business, housing, and schools all being on the block.
Meanwhile in Port Douglas, hopes were dashed for an LNP mateship injection of state money into the rapidly fading Sheraton Mirage. With an overhaul years overdue, and little interest shown by Chinese tour packagers in Port, the Mirage situation is grim indeed. Insiders claim it may be only weeks before Sheraton brand owner Starwood strips the property of the Sheraton branding.
All of this was expected by those who've seen the Chinese "economic invasion" elsewhere in the world. Sellers should just try not to look so pathetic and desperate. There's a lot to be said for a culture who, after first being shown the spoon, said "no thanks, we're staying with the sticks".