The 1988 sale of the former Expo 86 lands to Concord Pacific, then owned by Hong Kong businessman Li-Ka Shing, followed by the subsequent presales of condos there to buyers in Hong Kong by his son, drew public outcry. Residential homes bought by immigrants and investors from Hong Kong were derided as “monster homes” for their size and showy details.
“I think the parallels are many,” said Henry Yu, a University of B.C. history professor who specializes in migration. “Foreign capital has a yellow face. If it’s British or American or German investment, it’s not foreign in the same way. There is this perpetually foreign element.”
Yu also said the networks bringing cash from Hong Kong in the past, and mainland China now, are highly mobile, stoking up questions of “loyalty. Are you really here?”
However, the big change is that “Hong Kong wasn’t seen as an economic threat to Vancouver,” said Yu of the city with a population of 7.2 million.