It was a rare combination of factors that made the San Gabriel Valley THE LARGEST? THE SECOND-LARGEST? center of Chinese-Americans in the United States.
(NOT RIGHT IN THIS SPOT, BUT LATER IN STORY WE NEED TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE THIS: "SGV now has more than 300,000 Chinese-American residents, No. 2 in the nation behind SFO with 400,000." MUST KNOW TOTAL POP, HOW IT COMPARES.
The Los Angeles area, first off, had long been a magnet for Chinese immigrants because of its perch on the Pacific Rim. Plus, there's the climate. The weather is warm like Hong Kong and Taiwan, but more importantly, the L.A. business climate is one that has welcomed hard-working newcomers in a way that more tradition-bound Eastern cities have not.
"Los Angeles is the most attractive city in the U.S. to people across the Pacific Ocean," said Henry Hwang WHO IS HE, HOW HE KNOW? "It's a huge piece of land, and there's lots of business going on. Japanese have investeed heavily here and Koreans, so they set a precedent. All the big Pacific money is investing here".
L.A.'s old Chinatown near downtown took the first waves of immigrants but, hemmed in by freeways, railroad tracks and developed areas, it offered little room to grow. But just a few miles east, San Gabriel Valley cities like Alhambra and Monterey Park offered reasonably priced housing, good school systems and proximity to downtown three qualities attractive to Chinese immigrants who would bring their families to L.A. and work in the downtown industrial districts.
QUOTE TO WONDERS OF THE SAN GABE VALLEY. MUST BE SPECIFIC TO SGV.
But two other factors were critical to the emergence of the San Gabriel Valley as the LARGEST (ahead of SFO) or SECOND-LARGEST (behind SFO) center of Chinese population in the United States: the relaxation of immigration quotas and changes in the Taiwanese and Hong Kong economies in the early 1980s.
Prior to 1980, U.S. law placed a combined quota of 20,000 immigrants to the country from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong each year. But in 1980, Taiwan was split off from China and Hong Kong under U.S. immigration quotas, and given its own separate quota of 20,000 slots per year.
While the U.S. was changing its laws, Taiwan was also relaxing its own tough emigration laws. The loosening of laws in Taiwan, combined with the island's rising economy, made it easier than ever before for many Taiwanese to emigrate to other countries.
The stage was set for a new wave of Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrants to the United States, but steering them into the L.A. market was another matter.
Enter Fred Hsieh, a local real estate agent who knew a good thing when he saw it.
If any one man is most responsible for drawing Chinese immigrants to Monterey Park the San Gabriel Valley city where L.A.'s new Chinatown was born most agree it is Fred Hsieh.
It was largely Hsieh's vision of Monterey Park as a dream bedroom community, combined with his marketing savvy, that drew many Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrants to the San Gabriel Valley beginning in late 1970s and early 1980s.
Working through his residential real estate firm, Mandarin Realty, Hsieh placed ads overseas in Hong Kong and Taiwanese newspapers, painting his vision of the dream of Monterey Park for immigrants preparing to make the trans-Pacific crossing.
In his ads, Hsieh pointed out the presence of good schools, affordable housing and the closeness of Monterey Park to downtown L.A.
And lest any would-be immigrants worry that L.A. was a hot, dry, inhospitable place, Hsieh referred to Montery Park as "Mengtelu Gongyuan" in all his literature, which means "Lush, Very Green Park" in Chinese.
The ads had their desired effect, and as Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigrants came to inquire about L.A., Hsieh and his real estate sales team of 80-odd Chinese speakers lay ready to sell them on the wonders of Monterey Park.
Hsieh, a native of China who came to the United States in 1963, said it was his own positive experience with Monterey Park that led him to promote the city so strongly to others.
"I came to Monterey Park and bought a property thinking I'd sell, but I ended up staying," he said. "It's quite convenient you're in a suburb, but going to work is convenient. I used to live in L.A.'s (downtown) Chinatown, but there's just not enough living quarters. It's very old and rents are very expensive."
Today, Monterey Park has the heaviest concentration of Asians of any incorporated city in the United States 59.9 percent, according to 1995 estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. Although the census bureau does not break down Asians by country of origin, Monterey Park officials say most of the Asians are of Chinese heritage.
NEED QUOTE: "ITS ALL DUE TO FRED HSHIEH," FROM MONTEREY PARK MAYOR, CHAMBER OFFICIAL, ETC. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ESTABLISH HIS CREDIBILITY.
TODAY, THE TOTAL ASIAN POPULATION OF THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY IS ESTIMATED AT XXX,XXX, OR Y PERCENT OF ITS TOTAL POPULATION OF ZZZ,ZZZ
IN 1980, BY COMPARISON, THE ASIAN POPULATION WAS ONLY RR PERCENT.
IN ADDITION TO MONTEREY PARK, OTHER CITIES WITH LARGE POPULATIONS INCLUDE WALNUT WITH 42.6 PERCENT AND ALHAMBRA WITH 41.4 PERCENT.
EVEN SAN MARINO, KNOWN ONCE AS THE CONSERVATIVE CITY WHERE THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY WAS FOUNDED/HEADQUARTERED (DOUBLE CHECK THAT) HAS AN ASIAN POPULATION OF of 41.5 PERCENT.
SAN MARINO, WHERE HOME PRICES AVERAGE XXX,XXX, HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOVE-UP COMMUNITIES FOR CHINESE-AMERICANS WHO HAVE MADE A FORTUNE IN THEIR ADOPTED HOMELAND.
THIS SEGUES TO JAMES CHU. WOULD BE NICE IF HE LIVED IN SAN MARINO.
James Chu, a native of Taiwan, came to L.A. in 1987 WITH WHAT? NEED A POINT TO THIS. DID HE COME WITH NOTHING? ESTABLISH HOW HE GOT MONEY FOR VIEWSONICE. and founded ViewSonic Inc., WHERE? a maker and seller of high-end computer monitors and the largest minority-owned firm in L.A., with $510 million in revenues last year.
THIS QUOTE NEEDS TO GO TO SGV, NOT L.A. WHY DID HE CHOOSE SGV???
"Los Angeles is one of the shortest distances to the Far East, and that's where I'm coming from," he said. "It's like the front door of the U.S. from Asia. If I'm (going to be) successful in the U.S., I need to have a strong link to Asian resources."
THIS SEGMENT BELOW; WHAT'S THE POINT? THESE BUSINESS SHOULD BE INCLUDED AS THEY RELATE TO THE HOW-DID ANGLE. PERHAPS THE LINK IS THAT THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA VALLEY WAS AIDED BY DEVELOPMETN OF MAJOR CHINESE-OWNED BUSINESSES IN SAN GABE VALLEY. IN THiS CASE, THO, WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT MAJOR EMPLOYERS __ NOT REAL ESTAE, RESTATURATN MANAGMETN FIRMS WITH JSUT A FEW WORKERS.
In fact, Chu and ViewSonic are just one of several major business success stories to spring up in L.A.'s new Chinatown over the last decade. Other success stories that were born and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley include:
- Alhambra-based Candet Properties, which has brokered nearly $150 million in major building sales to Asian buyers over the last two years, including the sales of the Biltmore and Inter-Continental hotels; WHATS THE POITN
- South Pasadena-based Panda Management Inc., which manages a sprawling chain of 250 fast-food and sit-down restaurants in more than 32 states and generated $160 million in revenues last year; WAHTS THE POINT
- And Rosemead-based Asian Business Co-op, one of the biggest telemarketing firms to Asian immigrants in the United States, with $200 million in revenues last year. WHATS THE POINT.
WERENT ALL THREE OF THESE PROFILED???WHY THE REDUNANCY??? HOW DO THEY RELATE TO HOW DID?
SHOULD THESE OR OTHERS BE IN MONEY STORY.?
Springing up to serve L.A.'s booming new China Valley town are scores of clubs, restaurants, herbal shops and ethnic grocery stores, creating street scenes that look more like something out of the Far East rather than late 20th century Los Angeles.
DELETED OTHER STUFF BELOW, SHOULD GO TO MONEY STORY.
FROM HERE, LETS END THE STORY WITH FORWARD SPIN: WHATS THE POPULATION PROJECTIONS FOR 2010. WILL THE CHINESE POPULATION GROW (AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL) OR WILL THEY MOVE ON TO OTHER AREAS? ANY CLUES FROM THE NUMBER OF CHINESE IN SCHOOLS.
ARE THERE CULTURAL PROBLEMS -- CLASHES WITH WHITE OR HISPANICE COMMUNITIES
IS FOREIGN IMMIGRATION EXPANDING OR CONTRACTING? WHATS THE BIRTH RATE. WILL THEY MOVE TO THE WESTSIDE NEXT.
YOU NEED SOMEONE FAIRLY SMART, FAIRLY ARTICULATE AT CLOSE OF STORY TALKING ABOUT FUTURE OF CHINESE-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN SAN GABE VALLEY...
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- The Valley's Lure
- MOTHERLAND---Overseas Ties Are Valuable Asset for Attracting Clients
- Colima Road: Neighborhood Puts Cultural Face on Firms
- CHINESE---Onslaught of Small Banks Fighting for Piece of Market
- POPULATIONS---Shifting Demographics Prompting Changes in Strategy