In a previous post, I gave a pretty general view of the Dragon Mart project for Cancún. Now for some specifics about the project itself.
Originally introduced in 2011, the project was originally to have China provide a large minority of the financing. However, due to successful objections, obvious Chinese-related funds now only account for ten percent of the funds. So let's start with that.
According to a company profile, Chinamex
[S]ince 2000, has been an important overseas window in helping Chinese enterprises with implementing global strategy, the creation of internationalized brands, and the development of diversified exporting markets for Chinese products. Meanwhile, Chinamex is also an important window for foreign companies to enter China.
Now, Chinamex has already created China’s largest overseas trade platform, providing quality and efficient services for Chinese and foreign companies in the specialized areas of international exhibitions, commodities trade, Chinese company and city internationalization, business and investment attraction, and trade. Thousands of Chinese companies have entered the international markets via Chinamex. At the same time, Chinamex has explored direct investment in iron ore, oil and petrochemicals trade, and other international business domains.
Chinamex also plans "the internationalization of cities." This means the organization examines the industrialization and government plans for Chinese cities to be able to find appropriate overseas targets for its goods.
Is Chinamex the Chinese government/in disguise? Well, to some extent for sure. It was created under the Chinese Ministry of Commerce Overseas Management Center. Hao Feng, the president, was previously the Vice Minister of Commerce (of course USAers can't complain too much about government-private enterprise revolving doors). Mr. Hao said, interestingly enough, "Most of Mexico's imports come from Japan, India, South Korea and the US, which can cost three to five times more compared to the Chinese goods in the Dubai Dragon Mart [The other and earlier Dragon Mart]." This is a clue to one of the problems with the invasion of Mexico by China: Chinese wages are far lower than even those in Latin America, and the labor market in China is huge.
By the way, Chinamex is not an acronym (or wasn't originally) for China and Mexico but is an acronym devised after a change initiated following the establishment of the Dragon Mart in Dubai.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s foreign trade development bureau is responsible for the development and promotion of Dragon Marts.
Also important to note is that China is exploring "direct investment in iron ore, oil and petrochemical trade...," in other words, the importation of primary materials which China lacks.
Another Chinese figure involved and mentioned frequently in the context of Chinamex-Dragon Mart Cancún is Zhenli Ye Gon, though I'm not sure exactly what his connection with Dragon Mart is. Zhenli, however, is without doubt an intriguing person. He is currently in the United States, awaiting extradition to Mexico. He was born in Shanghai in 1962 and became a Mexican citizen in 2002. Much of the stuff written about him is well-known. He reportedly began his career selling stuff seized by Mexican customs. Next, he started and headed a company called Unifed which legally imported pseudoephredine from China to Mexico for the purpose of manufacturing anti-congestion medications. However, after he'd imported his legal allotment, he continued to import it. Just in case you don't know, this drug is the basis of methamphetamines. This led to charges that he was associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel, etc. etc. In any event, he went to Las Vegas where he reportedly lost 1.25 million dollars gambling. He was (reportedly, of course) given a Rolls Royce in exchange for his losses by the casino which was The Sands, or part of The Sands group owned by (surprise) Sheldon Adelson of Mitt Romney (and Israel) fame. ANYWAY, he was arrested in the US. Charges against him were dismissed (under protest) but as I understand it, as I said, he remains in US custody awaiting extradition to Mexico, whether in prison or not, I am not certain.
Sr. Zhenli has interesting connections with Mexicans associated with Dragon Mart Cancún. These will have to wait for the next episode.
Meanwhile, below is a picture of millions of dollars found in (one of) Sr. Zhenli's house(s) in Mexico.
This is part of a seizure of his property by Mexican police.
Among other connections, it appears, interestingly enough, that some of Sr. Zhenli's money may have been laundered through HSBC.
Enough for now.