Throughout all the geopolitical ups and downs, Chinese investors and tourists have been opening their checkbooks wider and wider in Japan.
Japanese property is seen as a very secure investment and with CIC, China’s sovereign wealth fund, putting more than $1 billion into Meguro Gajoen, a landmark development, many more will follow. Fosun has also made sizeable investments in Japanese property.
And it’s not just big companies investing in Japanese real estate: many individual Chinese are also doing so. Prices are comparable to Beijing and Shanghai – maybe even less after the yen’s depreciation – and rental yields are much higher than in Hong Kong. Relatively cheap, easy to get to, low pollution, appealing food, and great shopping – what is not to like for wealthy Chinese looking for secure overseas investments?
Chinese tourists are seeking much the same. Last year, 2.5 million Chinese tourists visited Japan, an increase of more than 80%. Hotels and service industries have adapted well to the influx, and 2015 will likely see another very large increase in numbers.
Chinese students have maintained a low profile in Japan, but are there in very large numbers. Something like 80,000 have studied there in recent years, building language and business skills that put them at the front of the line in being hired in Japan or China.
Even Chinese language schools are becoming part of this trend. Beijing Language and Culture University is setting up a campus in Tokyo, with courses due to start in April. Japanese students are reluctant to go to Beijing because of the pollution, and by having a campus in Tokyo, the University expands its potential market massively.
Increased connectivity and investment from China into Japan has to be a good thing. Let’s hope for more in 2015.
Image: halfrain / Flickr