Arcadia, The Chinese Beverly Hills

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Danny Liao Photography_China Arcadia 2_DL79105 copyFor the ancient Greeks, the province of Arcadia represented a sort of “heaven on earth,” God-like perfection brought to this world. The Californian city of Arcadia (named after the ancient location), on the other hand, has become a “perfect” destination  for Chinese wanting to invest abroad. But why was this sleepy, upper middle-class suburb 50km to the north of Los Angeles  chosen to receive a huge influx of wealth from China fueling a gigantic real estate boom? With a great number of Asian restaurants, 3 Chinese supermarkets and many storefront signs written directly in Chinese, you almost don’t need to speak English to live in Arcadia. And there’s the school district, one of the best in California. Is it enough to explain why in 2014, 300 small-size houses were torn down to be replaced by 5 or 6-bedroom mansions? As our investigator finds out, a whole cottage industry of demolishing, remodeling and decorating is benefitting from this influx of Asian money.

(6 to 8 pages)

Photos by Danny Liao

Text by Cezar Greif