Puerto Rico’s economy may be in for a boost as one Chinese law firm investigates business options on the island country, spreading out plans for housing, employment, and cultural developments.
The Santurce-born company of Yingke Caribbean China Center manages a total of 44 offices worldwide with a total of 6,000 employees in their main office alone. According to its chief executive officer (CEO), Jeff Carmichael, the company has its eyes on the U.S. province for its next development plans.
The Chinese investors are currently debating the construction of a cultural park, real estate management and medium cost housing development as well as numerous other endeavors in both the academic and scientific departments.
"The Chinese like to share experiences, and many of them begin to travel," said Carmichael who has spent the last two years in Puerto Rico. The CEO explained that for the Chinese, when conducting business, a good relationship with their partners and the country is paramount to sealing the final deal.
The current 12,000 Chinese travel agencies working with Puerto Rico pay testament to the "warm" relationship the people share between both nations, Carmichael said.
Brian Su, Yingke Caribbean China Center president, agreed, saying sales of Puerto Rican products are flying through the roof, naming the island’s coffee as one of the most popular item in Chinese markets to date. According to the group of Asian investors, despite the island’s hardships with hurricanes last September, Puerto Rico has the potential of immense economic opportunities.
"There is no better time to be in Puerto Rico. It is not only because of the tax incentives but because of the beauty of the country, its people, the tremendous business opportunities. In China we say, there are no opportunities without risk," the president said.
"The answer is simple, we love Puerto Rico, in no other country do we find what Puerto Rico has," Su said.
The company is investigating developing technologically smart initiatives in the city as well as new hotels, and an entertainment complex.
This is good news for the island which has struggled with the cost of repairs which came to an estimated US$1 billion in damage after both Hurricane Maria and Irma as well as the preexisting US$72 in debt. Due to the loss of power and extreme destruction thousands of Puerto Ricans have migrated across the Caribbean and to the United States in search of work.
However, the congregation of businessmen attending the investment summit Monday in Florida’s Miramar Convention Center say the province still holds a strong position in the tourism market and could easily "compete globally" if the right team of investors comes along.
Puerto Rico’s annual investment summit, a two-day conference to woo investors to the bankrupt U.S. territory and the first since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, sported some new faces, particularly from the fast-growing cryptocurrency world.
A business entrepreneur, Michael Terpin, the self-proclaimed first cryptocurrency investor on the island said, "I hate it when I hear a talented person has to leave Puerto Rico because there’s no jobs here. We are bringing jobs."
About 50 cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have relocated to Puerto Rico over the last year or two, and Terpin said he predicts that number will rise to 500 in the next 12 months.