Blue Skies and White Sails: Olympic Events Drawing Investor Attention to Qingdao

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Aug. 19 – Qingdao, the ex-German treaty port, is now in the heart of its own Olympics events as it hosts the yachting races and speed trials for the Beijing Summer Games. Hampered somewhat by the seasonal lack of wind—some days racing has had to be canceled, and events left potentially open to just one heat for medals—the traditional sailing nations have fared well, particularly for Britain and Australia.

Yet, when we surveyed the city for infrastructure issues in handling the yachting events, it seemed problematic, as we reported nearly three years ago. Additional problems with the cities lack of sailing expertise had created numerous embarrassments—no appreciation for the tidal surge here (it’s a whopping seven feet), issues over gantry cranes to lift yachts out of the water that require removal of center masts—which had all been highlighted as areas of concern by Dezan Shira & Associates to the city government.

Enter various clients of the firm amidst the clamor for local business involvement, well meant but hopelessly under-qualified, and the infrastructure began to improve. Indeed, much of the new marina was designed by the same team from Italy on whose infrastructural expertise much of the Athens Olympics yachting events had been based. The result, an impressive marina, a decent sailing club, and competition standard equipment (including gantry cranes that do not now require mast removal) speaks for itself.

But Qingdao is much more than just yachting and a now great marina. The city is also a significant producer of processed fruit and related products.  Chaucer Foods, who supply Kellogg’s with much of the dried fruit in your breakfast cereals, were established in the Qingdao Free Trade Zone by Dezan Shira & Associates some seven years ago. Food processing is a major Shandong industry. The local Tsingtao Chardonnay, a decent enough wine, was touted by none other than Jancis Robinson as being an acceptable example of Chinese viniculture.

Likewise manufacturing, and especially furniture manufacturing (another Italian client is an example making high end furniture in a Qingdao factory that ends up in the Kremlin) is also a major business. More recently, German investors have been rediscovering the city (the local beer was originally a German-British JV that began operations in 1903).

Consequently, much of what is now in the city in terms of infrastructure has passed its way across Dezan Shira & Associates’ Qingdao investment desk. Along with Richard Hoffmann, who has overseen much German investment in the city, Adam Livermore, who manages much of the international investment into Qingdao, has seen a marked change in the city over the past two years.

“Before the Olympics, Qingdao was still very much a second-tier city,” Livermore says. “Now, with these developments in place and operational, it will emerge over the next two years as a primary location for foreign investment. Equidistant to both Shanghai and Beijing, it offers an excellent lifestyle and standard of expatriate living, and is a great place also for weekend activities. Qingdao is now right on the map and we are looking forward to further cementing our own long standing relations with the city government and welcoming more investors into the city.”

Please click on the image to download Dezan Shira & Associates Qingdao investment guide.

For questions related to investing in Qingdao, please contact Adam Livermore, Dezan Shira & Associates regional manager for Qingdao.

For other local information about Qingdao, please see Red Star, our media partner there for full detail on local information and where to go in the city.