Monday 12th October 2015
Whether it's waterfront trophy homes or apartments off the plan, or even massive commercial developments, Chinese investment in our real estate has surged by more than 400 per cent in just five years, with as much as A$12 billion spent in the previous financial year alone. Property is now the number one Chinese investment in Australia.
So who are these investors and what do they see in Australia?
On Four Corners you'll meet members of China's super rich, the new generation of global property investors who call Australia home:
"I think this is the best period of time in Australia's history. The vast capital from China, including entrepreneurs like us, have been looking for investment opportunities worldwide." Chinese multi-millionaire property investor
And they're clear about what they want:
"The priority is view ... so waterfront with a view, with a nice house on it and preferably with a boat marina. You know, it's something money cannot buy in China." Real estate agent
There are also Chinese middle class buyers looking for a holiday home, a place to retire to, or just a good investment:
"Compared to Shanghai property, Sydney property is not that expensive." Chinese investor
And developers: from a billion dollar megaresort on the Gold Coast; to Melbourne's tallest residential tower; marquee sites in Sydney and whole city blocks in Perth - they're shaping our city skylines.
"I came over 17 years ago, my parents send me to here to study high school, university. After my graduation I fall in love with the country, loved the lifestyle, decided to stay, make something good out of it." Chinese property developer
Some are the progeny of China's political elite, known as 'princelings', whose links here begin with an Australian school or university:
"You'll find at the top universities across this country, a whole influx of young people of Chinese background who have been sent here by parents. Safe investment, they don't live in fear of the State taking their assets from them." Former Australian Federal Minister and China business specialist
But there are hidden dangers in doing business with China: endemic corruption; a lack of transparency in both business and the legal system, and questions about where the money is coming from and whether ill-gotten gains are being laundered.
"China (is) by far the biggest exporter of illicit capital." International money laundering expert
With billions of dollars flowing out of China, international money laundering experts are warning that some of it is making its way into Australia:
"Real estate is recognised internationally as one of the means by which people will launder money." Former money laundering investigator
THE GREAT WALL OF MONEY, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Kerry O'Brien