Why are the Chinese buying up golf courses and luxury planes?

The LA Times reported today that Chinese investors are buying up U.S. golf courses. In today’s daily briefing, Jeffy couldn’t help but point out how weird that story sounded, and Glenn thinks it’s just another sign of the U.S.’s decline as a world power.

The L.A. Times wrote:

Du and other wealthy Chinese investors are quickly adding golf courses to their growing portfolios of U.S. holdings. In the last year, Chinese investors have bought prime properties including the 2,000-acre Sea Trail Golf Resort, built around three Sunset Beach, N.C., courses, along with smaller ones, such as Rancho Duarte Golf Club, a nine-hole, par-31 course built on a former dump in the San Gabriel Valley.

“We’re seeing a lot of tires getting kicked by the Chinese,” said broker Jeffrey Woolson in Carlsbad, managing director for golf and resorts at real estate services giant CBRE Group Inc. “They only recently came forward and started buying. They do love golf, so it makes sense.”

In related news, Glenn pointed out that a recent article in Wired discussed how billionaires from China, Russia and the Middle East were buying up jets designed to hold hundreds of people and customizing them for private use.

Wired reports:

Commercial jet manufacturers have been replacing the rows of economy seats in their aircraft with sofas and entertainment centers since the late 1990s. A recent influx of billionaires from Russia, the Middle East, and China has led to a new focus on this part of the business. Since opening the private jet branch in 1997, Airbus has sold over 170 aircraft. Boeing got started in 1996, and has delivered on 195 of 217 total orders received.

The main reason to go with an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 747 over a puny Gulfstream or Bombardier? According a “Billionaires Study” commissioned by Airbus, the wealthiest among us like to travel with family members and business associates. (This, apparently, is particularly true for Middle Eastern oil magnates.)

Notice which country doesn’t have any billionaires on the list? The United States.

So two big leisure and luxury industries in the United States – golfing and private travel – are now seeing an influx from foreign countries?

“We are a nation and lifestyle absolutely on decline,” Glenn said. “The rest of the world is starting to have that kind of wealth. We’re on the decline.”

“We’re not going to be the leisure class for long.”

  • jo blo

    The only reason the rest of the world has that kind of wealth is because we have funded much of their growth, we have given our scientific, business and technological knowledge away through our stupid free trade policies and university system…They’ll implode, because they’ve never been able to sustain any type of success. We need to strengthen our country, quit doing business with these miscreants and let them shrivel.

  • Anonymous

    The Chinese elite will trash China, (toxic dump site combined with the approaching Gobi Desert) move to USA and we’re preparing it for them! We love spending borrowed Chinese money to green up, er, clean up our own land which, in turn, gets sold at fire sale prices.

    Perhaps the Chinese want a hole-in-yuan?

    • Beentheremovedaway

      Not only are they trashing the whole country in the rush to wealth, but their children are becoming lazy, much like ours! The upper and middle class in Asia are going to have a big surprise once they pass on the reigns to the next gen!

  • JoeyBiggs

    Land for debt… Not that complicated.

  • motherall

    Why have we not taken note of how our Mexican neighbor operates and modeled our selves after them. No foreign ownership of American land…lease only. We need to call in our WWII debts and get some money back. No more donations to any foreign country, let them donate to us. When the oil wells in the MIddle East were nationalized, we should have destroyed them right then and saved ourselves all this grief. All wars in recent times have been for oil which is really ignorant given our own stores.

  • Mac, Big

    Show me the data.

  • Anonymous

    Japan did this in the 1980s–they bought Radio City Music Hall and Pebble Beach, remember? And they came to regret it.

    The Chinese can’t haul that golf course back to China. The only thing they can do is sell it to someone else–most likely at a loss, because purchased golf courses never seem to generate the same kind of return on investment that the guy who built it in the first place.

    And buying big-ticket airframes and customizing into a flying high-capacity limo is pretty damn stupid, too. It’s wasteful as hell–an airplane is a hole in the sky into which one pours a LOT of money.

    It’s a sign–that the people who are supposedly going to beat us are even dumber than we are.

  • Richard French

    We pay the price for not looking for “Made in the USA”.

  • Terry Cooper

    Not just in the US, also golf courses in Australia.

  • landofaahs

    I remember the Japanese buying Rockefeller Center and people getting all worked up over it thinking the Japanese would rule the world. How did that work out?

  • ken.

    it’s to take over americas economy, if they own the businesses they own our economy. same as them buying our railroads and other infrastructure, they control our country. they control what we have and how and when we get it along with how much we get.

    • D. Dixon

      They already own our economy. The USA has been sold down the river over the last 25 to 30 years and it is now too late to do anything about it. It could be changed but our politicians don’t have the guts or the political will to do it.

  • IT 2 IT

    RED CHINA set up and handover FULLY ACHIEVED.


    Franchise slum ‘business as USE you ALLLL’ —–WILL NOT SAVE US.

  • Kal Boyington

    Glen: No conspiracy here, again! For now well over 30 years America has given in and given up on its own manufacturing and has allowed it to be replaced with the now notorious “made in China” “made in Korea” “Made in Brazil” and heck, even some names of countries I’ve had to look up via Google earth to see if they were real. They have all of our money, so why not now buy up all of our land and opulent goods as well! Maybe its our goal to defeat them by taking all of there money, transferring them into McDonald’s eating fat cats that then can be easily defeated? I love playing Golf, its a game that will never be mastered, perhaps if they are wrapped up in that game, they will forget about calling in all of our loans and defeating us via the check book and debt method!

  • landofaahs

    I bet they end up going in the hole.

  • landofaahs

    Why did the Chinese build Ghost cities that nobody lives in? Central planning.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. While the US has $17 trillion in debt, China has $3 trillion in cash on hand. They were looking for somewhere to turn the cash into assets. the ghost cities were a poor solution. Buying up US assets is a much better one.

  • MrKleen

    Not sure if anyone has brought this fact up in the conversation, but not only is it real estate that is being purchased, but in many cases they will also acquire water rights. It doesn’t get much more valuable than that.

  • Carolyn Massa Wilson

    Quit selling our land and buildings to foreign countries……especially the Chinese! Sellers must not give a crap – just get that almighty dollar from wherever they can.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t Japan buy many of our golf courses in the 80s & 90s? That didn’t work too well for them, why should it be different for the Chinese?

    • Odin

      Maybe they have a different plan for them in the future…..

  • Sam Kendall

    In the case of the the golf courses, it could be that investors in China are buying them as a way to quietly move their money out of China.

  • Anonymous

    The Chinese know Obama loves golf, lacks balls, and want to keep it that way!

  • Anonymous

    no problems with it, only means they won’t want to destroy us.

  • Anonymous

    China holds much of our debt. They’re dumping it as quickly as they can, though. They are coming to realize that this government is not going to make good on that debt and US dollars are losing value every time there’s a stimulus, QE, TARP or fractional reserve loan made. The US goal is to make payments on debt with money that is worth a lot less than when it was borrowed.
    So the best way to dump dollars quickly is to buy stuff with them while they’re still worth something. Buying up US assets is a good idea–for them.
    Meanwhile, every US citizen has to bear the burden of the declining value of their money.

  • Coll

    Why are the owners SELLING to the Chinese?? Aiding and abetting the Chinese for the sole purpose of getting rich, putting themselves before their country, doesn’t sound very American to me. It’s not that the rich have destroyed our country because they got rich, it’s because of HOW they got rich. They’d trade in their own mother for a buck. Money is not the problem and the Scripture is OFTEN misquoted. The Bible clearly states that it is the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil. Nothing wrong with being rich. But if you sold your soul and/or that of your brother’s to get rich, then you are NOT an American. The Founders and the blood of those who gave their lives for our country didn’t do so to get rich. And..the rich would not have had the freedom to get rich without those greatest sacrifices. Don’t spit on their graves by greedily and selfishly getting rich by trading out your country. The attitude: ‘screw you..I got mine’ is completely in opposition to the principles this great country was founded upon. THOSE are the REAL traitors! And..those that stood by in silence in the name of ‘tolerance’, doing nothing to stop them, are covertly complicit.

  • Bozeman

    Since a free nation cannot eliminate discontent due to envy, if we are to preserve liberty, we must not sanction envy with “social justice”.

  • Anonymous

    china buying are companies and property, buying our debt. There is an answer reduce spending. flat tax, that will exempt capital gains, that will send money offshores home and compete against China, by reducing spending you reduce dependance of the t-bond being bought by other countries just to back the current national deficit. Chinese communism can devalue property to 2cents on the dollar.

  • Anonymous
  • Right wing

    I don’t think a foreigner can own land in China, and it’s not like they don’t have enough. Maybe there is oil underneath those golf courses?

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