This story is part of an ongoing series on how China is reshaping our world.
In 2013, Greece launched a “Golden Visa” investment program, dangling the promise of EU residency visas to anyone who invested directly in its ravaged economy. It was following the example of other countries like Portugal and Spain, which used golden visas to attract much-needed capital after the European debt crisis of 2009.
Greece focused its program on the property sector. For a minimum real estate investment of €250,000, investors and their families receive a five year residency permit. It has been a big hit with Chinese buyers, who have accounted for more than half of the investment—€600 million and counting—that the program has attracted.
Real estate represents just part of Chinese investment in Greece, which is also seeing an influx of Chinese tourists, and government investment in infrastructure. It’s all helping rebuild Greece’s economy, but it’s also pricing some Greeks out of the housing market. Meanwhile, analysts see a broader strategy unfolding, as China looks to stake a claim in a country that offers a gateway to Europe.
Watch the whole story in the video above, and check out other films in our Because China series here.