Why China's investors are looking to U.S. commercial real estate

After China's stock market dropped earlier this year, officials devalued the country's currency to spur economic growth and began enforcing rules designed to keep money from exiting the nation. Still, Chinese investors are continuing to look toward the U.S. for real estate opportunities, the Wall Street Journal notes, as some of the nation's wealthiest citizens try to find shelters for their money before further devaluation. Data released Monday showed that China’s foreign-exchange reserves dropped in November to what the paper calls a two-year low, which is fueling concerns about Beijing’s ability to stem capital outflows.

Earlier this year, a Chinese insurer paid $1.95 billion for New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel—a record price for a U.S. hotel sale—after Chinese regulators relaxed rules for big insurers investing in overseas real estate. In February, Starwood sold New York City's Baccarat hotel to an affiliate of China's Sunshine Insurance Group. Chinese investors also acquired a Marriott hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. Those types of deals could suffer if the Chinese government continues to discourage companies from investing heavily abroad instead of at home.

Shanghai investors recently partnered with New York-based investment firm Borland Capital Group to acquire 66 condo units in two of the tallest buildings in the White Plains Ritz Carlton in White Plains and the New Rochelle Trump Plaza for $40 million.

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Hotels that do not restructure will not be able to compete with those that do, and revenues ultimately lag the comp set.