Business delegates from Shaoxing, China, visited San Marino last week during a busy three-day tour of the Los Angeles area that focused on California investment opportunities.
Sky Vision Investment Group, an asset management company with offices in San Marino and China, organized the trip, which took place from Thursday to Saturday.
Sky Vision spokeswoman Tutty Sentoso declined to comment to Patch on whether or not Sky Vision Investment paid for the group’s airfare and accommodations at Pasadena’s Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, saying the information is “private.”
San Marino Mayor Allan Yung said the city extended an invitation to the delegation but did not pay for the accommodations.
Sky Vision presented the delegation—comprising six local government officials and six large corporation leaders—with 10 specific potential investment projects in areas such as technology, real estate, recycling, insurance and banking, according to a Sky Vision statement. Hotels and other ventures are attractive to the group.
Sentoso said investment meetings with the delegation were “very successful” but could not offer details of any possible transactions until they are finalized.
The possibility of building a sister city relationship between San Marino and Shaoxing was also discussed.
“Investment [in San Marino] would probably be buying houses, which is getting common,” said Yung, who noted that the city did not make any deals with the delegates. “They may put offices here. That will help our vacancies on Huntington Drive.”
Since San Marino’s population is more than 50 percent Asian and Asian-American, the majority of whom are Chinese, San Marino can be a popular place for those from China or Taiwan to purchase a home. Yung said at one time it was common for families from either region to move to San Marino while the father would go back to the home country to work. The “parachute children” left in San Marino had difficulties adjusting, Yung noted.
After a Friday meeting at Sky Vision and seeing San Marino High School with Board of Education President Chris Norgaard, the group went to City Hall, which is closed on Fridays, to take a quick photo outside with Yung before heading to Santa Monica for another meeting and Beverly Hills for a shopping trip.
“Our culture is very different,” said San Marino Mayor Allan Yung. “They have 800,000 people for a small city and have high rises that are many more than our Los Angeles downtown for a small city. And they said, ‘This is nice; people aren’t packed together.’”
Before the delegation left, members presented Yung with a proclamation and Yung, Ballantyne and Norgaard with pearl necklaces.
“They were here for maybe 10 minutes,” said San Marino City Manager Matt Ballantyne. “I ran up to [my office] to get my jacket and came down, and they were already leaving.”
Ballantyne said he is not keeping the pearl necklace since he does not know how much it is worth and does not want to violate state law that prohibits local officials from accepting gifts from one source totaling over $420 in one year.
“It may be offensive if you don’t accept it,” said Ballantyne, who said he plans to contribute the necklace to a raffle at an awards function that occurs around Christmas.
Ballantyne compared the delegation’s trip to the that San Marino officials like Ballantyne and Vice Mayor Richard Sun took in April. The Taiwan trip included visits with local government officials but no investment ventures.
Sentoso said the delegation will visit again but is unsure of the exact date. San Marino city officials have mentioned visiting China but no plans are currently set.