Will Chinese Development Help the Economy in Las Vegas Recover?

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Today, many hope China will help the Las Vegas economy pull out of a recession. Economists say without changes the state could suffer for the next 20 years.

Brief History of Chinese Influence and Nevada

One hundred and fifty years ago in Nevada, those in the area did not know how to get the gold and silver out of the mountainous region. The Chinese played an integral part in helping Nevada achieve its current status as the largest supplier of gold and silver in the US. Chinese immigrants, who provided nearly 90 percent of the workers in the area, helped build the Central-Pacific Railroad, connecting the area to the rest of the United States. The population then increased by 1000 percent during a 20-year period.

Today’s Relations with China in Perspective

China has money. Something neither the state of Nevada nor the American government can provide. The Chinese already have accrued $1.2 trillion in American government debt—the biggest amount of any foreign country.

The country still exports more than it imports, but the Chinese want more imports. Its imports increased by up to 30 percent this summer, during just one month. According to the US-China Business Council’s Trade Statistics in 2010, the US imported over $364 billion in Chinese exports. At the same time, the Chinese imported $91.9 billion of US exports, including most notably machinery, power generation equipment, aircraft, medical supplies, and plastics.

The Reluctance to Improve Trade with China

Today, many fear close ties with China because they believe outsourcing to China will cause Americans to lose jobs. Others are concerned China has not improved its human rights’ record. Some, especially those in high-tech businesses, are afraid to do business in China because of the problem of piracy in many areas. Others do not want to work with the Chinese because they believe the country exploits its trade advantage, keeping products cheap. Some want tariffs on Chinese products, and some want the country to not be a part of global free trade zones.

How Does the Las Vegas Economy Benefit from Chinese Investment?

Many in Nevada, however, want to get in on the chance to invest with the Chinese. Our casinos have not prospered during the Great Recession. Some believe federal funding in the area for renewable energy will soon go away.

That is another reason some want to get Chinese investment in the Las Vegas economy quickly. The state has prospered because of Chinese help since it was first a territory more than a century ago. And it’s no secret that we have been involved with Chinese investments in betting rooms recently. Much of the money the casinos have earned in recent years has come from China.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki said, after a recent trip to China, that Chinese investment in the economy in Las Vegas in the past few years has been one of the few “bright spots” in economy in Las Vegas. He compared the Asian economy to an “engine” and said being involved with it would help the local area.

Do you think that Chinese investment is helping or hurting the Las Vegas economy? We’d love to have you weigh in on the topic.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane grew up not wearing a helmet, drinking from the hose and not wearing a seat belt. She managed to survive and now spends her time developing websites, drinking coffee, and eating chocolate.