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.
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