Xian – wealth out West

I initially had business dealings with Xian in 2005. A Taiwanese developer was seeking FDI for a new real estate project – that is another story with a unique lesson.
The West in China, is commonly spoken about as a vast region that is lagging behind the Eastern regions (Bohai, Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas)_yet, Xian, the ancient capital of China is in need of no assistance.
Xian is 1400 kms west of Shanghai. A nine million population with a GDP/capita of only USD 7k, however, a city that is booming.

The Hurun Report in 2011 states that Xian has 7,000 USD millionaires, including 300 citizens over the USD 16m threshold.
Xian was the capital of China 2,200 years ago when the first Emperor to unite all of China, Qin Shi Huang, ruled. Qin Shi Huang outshone beyond China by his Terracotta Warriors.In 2009 we visited Xian again, the circumstances of these trips were more profitable.
It is certainly interesting watching the locals creatively use their guangxi.
This was one ‘guangxi scenario’ in Xian, it involved the head of the local Aerospace Development Corporation.
A Ms Qiu (architect) wanted to do business with a Mr Y from the Aerospace company. To get an introduction she called her old classmate (a strong connection in China).
The husband of said wife worked with Mr Y. The husband, prior to the first meeting (the dinner we attended in Xian) contacted a Professor friend from his old university. The Professor contacted my colleague and another Professor at his university.
A couple of taps of the magic wand and we all appear a couple of weeks later in Xian. Why these associations? (I’m there as the token white man).
Mr Y wants some “assistance’ with his English paper; an English Professor appears from Shanghai. The original Professor wants to do business in Xian and brings my colleague to explore commercialising and taking the Aerospace technology to other cities in China. So behind the Maotai, the incessant toasting, the bruised livers and the never-ending cuisine, the evening continues. One of the meals was up in the nearby mountains; visiting a fish farm and restaurant for more drinking, toasting and food. Those evenings expanded into reciprocal Shanghai visits by all parties and further discussions.
Downtown Xian has this marvellous wall marching around the rectangular heart of the CBD, it manages to mesh and not be overshadowed by the sprawling commercial developments. The 14 km long, 1400 year old wall replete with watch towers is stunning.
On one visit we met with a Xian Town Planner who was recreating a modern version of ancient Xian as part of massive developments in Qujiang District on the outskirts of Xian.
He had been so impressed with a visit to Christchurch he decided to emulate that NZ city’s layout and of course hired an Australian Architect to recreate the design back in Xian (work that one out).

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