There is a novel by Jose Saramago called The Cave set in Spain. In it, a rural potter and his family find themselves selling their wares to a place called The Center. They slave to make the quotas, and one day, The Center cuts them off cold turkey: no more of your pots. Finally, the family has to move to The Center to work and to survive. The Center turns out to be an enormous surrealistic construction which aims to meet all the needs of the workers as well as the shoppers and businessmen so that they no longer have any desire to return to the real world. I am abridging here mercilessly. I only want to say that The Cave reminds me of the Chinese-Mexican plans to build a Dragon Mart near Cancun. The Dragon Mart is to be an enormous complex 122,000 square meters or 1,310,000 square feet. In addition to some 3000 commercial locations operated by Chinese businesses, there will be housing for some 700 housing units for Chinese workers. A lot of things are blurry: how many workers will be Chinese, for instance, vs. how many jobs will be available to Mexicans. Something like 6000 Chinese are expected to come to work in the complex. What isn’t in doubt is that the products will be Chinese and will be sold at far cheaper rates than comparable Mexican (or other nations’) goods. It will probably make WalMart look like child's play.
There are growing objections to the project, as well there should be, especially to the effect on Mexico’s economy and industrial production and to environmental damage. Random changes foreseen: vast increase in shipping (Chinese) into the area; the use of Mexico as a point from which to ship cheap Chinese goods not only around Mexico to the US, Canada and Latin America without the need for non-Chinese middlemen; the Chinafication of Mexico; the ability of the Chinese to vastly undersell EVERYONE.
The model for this monstrosity is Dragon Mart, Dubai, the biggest shopping and wholesale mart in Dubai, though the Mexican Dragon Mart is to be bigger. http://www.yadig.com/business/Dubai/Dragon-Mart/19382 describes the Dubai version this way:
DragonMart is the largest trading centre for Chinese products outside mainland China. DragonMart features everything you'd find in mainland China: home appliances, communication and acoustic equipment, lamps, household items, building materials, furniture, toys, machinery, garments, textiles, footwear and general merchandise.
Shoppers describe mountains of junk and mountains of “such-a-deals”, everything you need and don't need, all Chinese. ALL Chinese. Of course there is a huge difference between Dubai and the country of Mexico. Dubai is not an agricultural and industrial country which depends on its own goods at least in part for its survival.
The project seems to have slipped in under the radar in 2011, but recently, people have taken notice. Initially, mostly Chinese-funded, it is now funded maybe up to 90% by some very rich Mexicans including some from Monterrey. This will not change the basic nature of the place, but will make some very rich Mexicans richer. Also the state and Federal governments are starting to stir as are environmental groups.
It will, I suspect, make WalMart seem like child’s play.
Links to some articles in Mexico in Spanish:
I’ve got lots more if you are interested.
There is more than Dragon Mart to China’s move into Latin America (and points north). China is also now Latin America’s biggest lender.