Investment awakens China to potential
A CHINESE multi-millionaire's purchase of Double Island off Palm Cove has sparked the interest of other investors in China with a business trip by 10 "serious players" due in the Far North in two weeks.Hosting the members of the Chinese Real Estate Chamber of Commerce will be one of the first tasks of the new chief executive officer of Advance Cairns, Mark Matthews who has hit the ground running this week.
He said the group asked to add Cairns to their Queensland Government Trade and Industry itinerary which included Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Melbourne.
The group was interested in property development, particularly tourism, aged care and intellectual property.
Mr Matthews said the group would meet four or five "key people" in Cairns during the two-day visit which would include presentations and site inspections.
"It will be a prospecting visit," Mr Matthews said.
Bill Calderwood, who has been the interim chief executive of Advance Cairns, said the Chinese businessmen would have had their interest in Cairns piqued by Benny Wu buying Double Island resort in November last year for an undisclosed sum with plans to spend $10m on upgrades.
He said the businessmen moved in the same circles and had access to "hundreds of millions of dollars."
"They are well qualified serious players. They will not be here for sight-seeing but to look at opportunities in the area," Mr Calderwood said.
He said it would be the first stage of "a multi-staged engagement process".
"It's an opportunity for the region to open their eyes," Mr Calderwood said.
Mr Matthews said next month Advance Cairns would be involved in a similar trade and industry mission to China when members and the business communityshowcasethe region's investment opportunities.
The former Fiji businessman and head of the island country's leading business organisations said he was impressed with the "positive vibes" and "optimism" in Cairns.
"People are optimistic and are looking for opportunities," he said.
Mr Matthews said he was looking forward to continuing to bring all the business and economic development organisations of the region together.
He said he would be ramping up the organisation's lobby of all levels of government, particularly in the lead-up to the general election.
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Opportunities: Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews hosts a Chinese real estate delegation. Picture: ANNA ROGERS