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The chinese prefer to buy flats before investing in Spanish companies and to get the ‘golden visa’

When we speak of the ‘visa gold’ in Spain, that is to say, the delivery of a residence permit to a foreign investor for having carried out a significant investm

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The chinese prefer to buy flats before investing in Spanish companies and to get the ‘golden visa’

When we speak of the ‘visa gold’ in Spain, that is to say, the delivery of a residence permit to a foreign investor for having carried out a significant investment in the country, the first thing that comes to the head of the chinese citizens is the purchase of real estate. It is not surprising taking into account that the crisis has made an offer of housing with prices and returns are attractive. But the law includes a number of other assumptions, among them the investing in a business project: an option that, despite the impact to a greater extent in society in the form of job creation and innovation, it is largely unknown among potential investors from the asian country and, therefore, the least used with difference.

Virtually none of the agencies chinese who participated this October in the annual Forum of Immigration and Investment of Beijing are aware of the possibility that its customers may invest in a company that is growing in Spain instead of buying a house there. The Spanish law contemplated if the project is considered “of general interest”, that is to say, if it meets one or more of the following conditions: job creation, socio-economic impact of relevance in the geographical area in which to develop the activity and contribution relevant to scientific or technological innovation.

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“it Is a heading rather vague, and in the end, leaves the approval or rejection of each project –and the subsequent residence permit - in the hands of the discretion of the Spanish authorities,” says Zhao Ming, who runs an immigration agency in Beijing. “If we do not have numeric criteria that our customers will not be interested. There will always be that fear that they will reject the application,” he adds. In the case of housing, the law establishes a minimum investment of 500,000 euros, a figure which rises to one million if it comes to the purchase of shares or bank deposits and the two million if we are acquired by public debt.

These doubts are reflected in the number of visas granted to investors of non-eu for this reason. If from September 2013 to February 2018, were granted a total of 3.630 permits for investors in real estate, the figure is only 64 in business projects of general interest, according to data from the Secretariat of State of Trade. Six of these correspond to citizens of chinese origin, with an estimated investment of 226,5 million euros. The figure is very high because there is a big project, the creation of a hospital of traditional chinese medicine and a teaching centre associated with it, which is estimated to be 210 million.

Maria Eugenia Blasco, the director of Immigration of the Spanish firm AGM abogados, offers chinese investors the Pasgol chance to invest in companies start-up Spanish “a certain level”, that is to say, you have your project underway and are billed minimally or whose business is created and need funds to launch it en masse. The minimum amount recommended to their customers is around 250,000 euros, a figure that has been agreed with the Directorate General of International Trade and Investment, the agency competent to approve these requests, to change the residence permit. It is just a figure of guidance and each case will also be analyzed for compliance with the "general interest" that makes the law.

“we're in a very early stage, to inform that this option exists and that it can benefit them. The fact of investing in a technology project of interest to Spain, but that in turn can have a positive impact in China, you can also make the authorities of this country to give the nod to the investment without having to go through procedures that are much more tedious, common when a chinese citizen wants to invest in real estate, entertainment, or hospitality,” says Blasco. China controls the movement of money to prevent inputs or outputs of speculation that can destabilize its economy. Individuals can only get a maximum of $ 50,000 out of the country per year, while the chinese use other ways to bypass this limit.

in Addition to the lack of knowledge of the law, another aspect that separates the chinese investors of the start-up Spanish is the traditional predilection of these by the real estate. But the recovery of house prices in Spain, along with the emergence of a powerful technological sector in China, and a generation of young entrepreneurs, make possible the emergence of new profiles that look for other ways to invest in Spain. “We are aware that it is difficult and involves a significant promotion effort on the part of all, also of the Administration. If at the end the time passes and we see that nobody in China is interested in investing in start-up we will focus again on the real estate business. But at least try it,” says Blasco about it.

An alternative way of funding

Iván Esteban is responsible in China TimeCoin and has submitted the proposal to various investors in the asian country. It is a mobile application developed in Spain based on the social economy in which its users exchange services using a virtual currency, the TimeCoin. A pathway to give and receive services without pay or charged directly by them with real money, but by way of barter. The application is developed and the channels of marketing prepared, but need between 300,000 and 500,000 euros to fund the promotion and to achieve a sufficient base of users for their use to be effective.

The possibility that an investor in chinese to join their project is seen with good eyes, especially if it involves him: “we Cannot close the door to someone that we only use for the residence permit, but the ideal would be a person who also be involved in the field of consulting and even performs tasks of representation in China,” explains Stephen.

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