“It’s the chosen few in Myrtle Beach government, seeking financing for the chosen few in Myrtle Beach business from the chosen few in China,” said one local merchant.
“But I don’t see anybody local or in the United States that’s doing anything. They talk about it, but then they’ve got to go borrow the money to get the project going” Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes
Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus returned this week from a 16 day trip in China. The pair informed local media today that a group of Chinese business leaders will finalize a $100 million investment involving property west of the Intracoastal Waterway in the next few weeks. The pair described the project as a tourism-related venture. Mark Lazarus promised that details would be provided to locals within 60-90 days.
The local Myrtle Beach Sun News reports: Sometime in the next few months, a group of 30 Chinese investors will be visiting the county, he [Lazarus] said. Some of them are committed to the tourism project, but others are considering the Grand Strand for health care, entertainment and distribution-related businesses.
“In a global economy, we are attached in a lot of ways to China,” Lazarus said. “And I believe that in the future, for our children, it’s going to be great if we have an opportunity for our children to learn Mandarin, to learn international commerce, because we’re going to have to deal with that.”
While the Mayor promised to bring investors into our area to create more jobs, most small business owners believe that this deal falls heavy on the side of investment and light on the side of job creation. “The new project should create about 100 local jobs,” Rhodes said. He added, “Chinese investors will infuse money into redevelopment projects that wouldn’t be financed otherwise.” “You’ve got to look at areas that are sort of blighted, that need investments,” he said. “People complain about the Chinese are doing this, the Chinese are doing that. But I don’t see anybody local or in the United States that’s doing anything. They talk about it, but then they’ve got to go borrow the money to get the project going. The one thing about the Chinese: when they do a project, it’s paid for. There’s no borrowing money.”
Local merchants fear that city government has what many are calling “China Fever.” Several local merchants told us they were insulted by the Mayor’s remarks. While $100 million dollar investments make headlines, it is our merchants earning $1 a sale that help create diversity, create jobs, and float this city economy we were told.
The Mayor is correct in stating that many local merchants have to borrow to finance their dreams. To dismiss this investment is to miss the point, however.
THE POINT: NO BORROWING, BUT WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?
It is true that these Chinese investors are paying cash for these American assets, however, just this week the Israeli Mossad sent an alert to Homeland Security with concerns that these Chinese investments carried with them Arab ties.
Neither Mayor Rhodes nor Mark Lazarus addressed those concerns nor made assurances that this was not a potential problem for our area.
BOOM BUST INVESTMENT CYCLE RISKS
As the Chinese are now making huge investments in Myrtle Beach, should these investments incur unforeseen international or local risks or should the Chinese economic opportunities at home expand, the bust cycle in Myrtle Beach would leave holes that make the current blighted areas look like sunshine.
As a rule, anytime something grand happens on one side of the scale, it is simply a matter of time before the opposite grand thing happens on the other.
As Ben Franklin advised, “The surest path to certain growth is earning one sound dollar at a time.”