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Canada and China strike 10-year visa deal
By Juwai, 11 March 2015
China has just struck yet another mutual 10-year visa agreement…with Canada!
Following last year’s strategic and unprecedented move of the US government to grant 5-year and 10-year visas to Chinese citizens, Canada too has just announced a similar 10-year visa deal with China, which goes into effect today.1
Bagging the lucrative Chinese market
China is unmistakably a palpable presence in the world today, and for many countries – particularly in the West – all gloves are off now.
Forget about subtle persuasion. It’s now a global tug-of-war now with many countries playing hardball as they vie for Chinese money – be it via investments, businesses, retail, or tourism.
The US government made the first strike, and now the US economy stands to gain US$85 billion per year thanks to the relaxation of its visa, which has triggered an immediate Chinese travel boom to the US within the first two months.
Evidently, Canada is seeking to emulate the visa feat of US, and hopes to move past its now-defunct investment immigration scheme embroilment with scores of wealthy Chinese, whose pending permanent residency applications were abruptly cancelled after long years of wait.
Chinese enduring love with Canada
Blessed with vast landscapes rich in natural bounties, Canada has long been a top destination for Chinese – many who find its fresh air, blue skies, and beautiful scenic vistas enthralling.
However, it’s the fantastic quality of living, excellent education, and economic security that has sustained Canada as a lasting favourite with Chinese.
Furthermore, thanks to its large and matured Chinese population, Canada is also remarkably Chinese-friendly – a major draw for Chinese tourists, students, and investors alike.
From Vancouver to Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal…practically every major city in Canada has at least one Chinatown that has helped shaped their culture.2
Take a walk in Montreal, and you’ll spot Chinese-influenced neighbourhood landmarks, including the Chinese School of Montreal, Montreal Chinese Hospital, Montreal Chinese Catholic Mission, and the Montreal Chinese Cultural and Community Centre.3
The popular news publication Vancouver Sun – with over 30 million monthly page views – even has an online Chinese edition called Taiyangbao, which translates to mean “Sun Newspaper”.4
To top it off, Canada also became the first North American country to establish a Chinese currency hub in November 2014, allowing direct trade in Chinese yuan, which is expected to greatly bolster exports.5
More importantly, Canada offers prime real estate for cash-rich Chinese, whose ongoing appetite for property has become legendary.
The lure of Canadian real estate
On Juwai.com, Canada remains in the top 5 most popular countries for Chinese buyers, whose interest are generally centered on Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. According to our Co-CEO Andrew Taylor, Canada is a safe bet for Chinese.
“Canadian cities are like London or New York, a safe place to invest for the long term,” says Taylor.6
A 2014 Grosvenor’s Resilient Cities research showed that of the world’s 50 top cities, Canada ranks highest for long-term property investments – with Toronto and Vancouver sweeping the top two spots.7
More recently, though, a new trend has arisen. Wine investment in Canada is growing popular with Chinese too, whose passion and demand for quality wine has been growing substantially.
Chinese consumed 1.86 billion bottles of red wine in 2014 – a 136% spike over the past five years.8
One such area where aspiring Chinese vineyard owners have been spotted traipsing around in their search for their dream vineyard is Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, which has created some of the most applauded wines in the world.9
What’s next for Canada?
While the new Immigrant Venture Capital (IIVC) has not shown much success with Chinese so far, this new 10-year visa deal should strike the right note and may be a new game changer for Canada.
With the surge in Chinese purchasing power and cheaper Canadian dollar against the strong Chinese yuan, the timing couldn’t have been any better.
Chinese visa applications to visit Canada rose 51% to nearly 15,000 per month in January 201510 – and that’s before this 10-year visa reveal.
Considering that China currently boasts 8,366 UHNWIs (ultra high net worth individuals), that’s a lot of prospective cash inflow.11
What’s more, the UHNW population in China is poised to increase by as much as 87.4% to 15,681 by 202411 – overtaking both Germany and Britain to become the country with the third-largest UHNW population in the world.11
China’s economic clout is massive, but more importantly – it’s still growing.
Now that’s a market worth capturing.
Sources: 1. SCMP; 2. Omni TV; 3. Canadian Living; 4. BBC; 5. The Canadian Press; 6. Huffington Post Canada; 7. 2014 Grosvenor's Resilient Cities Research; 8. International Wine and Spirit Research; 9. Financial Post; 10. The Globe and Mail; 11. Knight Frank “2015 Wealth Report”