Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Suburban Seattle is new nest for China’s wealthy

By Robert Frank  /  NY Times News Service, NEW YORK

Their attraction to Seattle stems from its top schools, clean air, longtime Chinese population and, more recently, a hit movie. The film, Finding Mr Right (北京遇上西雅圖, literally “Beijing Meets Seattle”), has become one of China’s top-grossing films of all time, telling the story of a pregnant woman who flies to Seattle to find true love and US citizenship for her baby. The film struck a chord with younger Chinese, who saw Seattle as a liberating, romantic escape from the intense materialism of China (even though much of the movie was filmed in Vancouver).

“People my age in China suddenly started talking about Seattle,” said Bangze Wang, a Beijing native who now lives in Seattle.

Wang, known as James, embodies the new Seattle-China attraction. The son of a successful developer in Beijing, he arrived in Seattle in 2008 with plans to attend the University of Washington and return home to the family business. After graduation, however, he was offered a job at Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes, one of Seattle’s top builders. Now he is a project manager, negotiator and all-around cultural liaison between the company and wealthy Chinese buyers.

“Seattle was a better opportunity for me than China right now,” Wang said. “A lot of Chinese families are planning to move here.”

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