For the Chinese, at this point in 2016 they have not yet entered the new year. Indeed, the Chinese culture is different from ours in so many respects, but it's also governed by a different calendar. Therefore, the year of the red fire monkey, as known this year for the Eastern citizens will begin on February 8th.
Cities like Barcelona, where the Chinese community has grown significantly in recent years, celebrate with live dragons and lion dancing in their own streets. The Spring Festival is a live event in Barcelona and celebrated in style, where many houses and establishments are covered in red colour that symbolises good luck. Everybody gets dressed up in order to bring a piece of the great Asian country into the Catalan urban environment.
In recent years, the parades have been held in the Sagrada Familia district, which is a symbolic twinning of Chinese and Catalan traditions. The festival, which begins at noon with masked dancers and other elements of Chinese folklore is mixed with giants and local castellers. The celebrations last until late in the evening with music performances and shows in squares and gardens.
No wonder the Chinese new year celebration is so popular here. It's all because of the increasing growth of the Chinese community in Barcelona. Thus, according to the latest census data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), nearly 50,000 Chinese citizens reside in Barcelona, which is a record increase of almost 10% in the last decade.
The truth is, Chinese people truly love the Catalan capital for the good living standards and the quality of life they can lead here. Location plays a major part for the Chinese citizens as well as the legal certainty the country provides. An excellent health care system and universally accessible services for all residents are also the other important factors. The worldwide impact of tourist attractions, its extensive network of public transportation, quality education system and a great culture also positively influence the assessment. The Chinese community has been spreading all over Barcelona, and not only as classic owners of bars, restaurants or shops, but as one of the largest investors in real estate groups.
Much of this increase in investment by the Chinese stems from the Entrepreneurs Act passed in our country at the end of 2013. It stipulated that an investment of over half a million euros in a building by any foreigner grants them the right to obtain a residence permit from one to two years, with possibility of extension if new investments are made. It is known as "Golden visa", which grants foreign investors with the great opportunity of living in a European country and move freely around the Schengen area.
The Chinese have welcomed this possibility with much interest, coupled with the outbreak of the Spanish housing bubble that has allowed the supply of multiple properties at very affordable rates. In their own home country it costs three times more than here and the high class foreigners set eyes on Barcelona as a great opportunity to invest at a good price. During 2015 the trend continued strongly, to the point that it's been possible to establish a "portrait-robot" Chinese investor in the city.
The type of apartment pursued by these Eastern citizens is an apartment of about 100 square metres, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms as their large family wish to live in it. An interesting fact is that the Chinese are particularly interested in the kitchen being separated from the living room as they cook often. As for the location, they prefer the city centre, especially the Eixample, which proves to be less complicated than buying in more remote areas.
The truth is that expectations continue to get higher this year, now that economic growth assessors seem to suggest that the worst of the crisis is over. Luxury real estate companies have landed in China to publicise what Barcelona has to offer, selling their latest offers at estate fairs in large cities like Beijing or Shanghai. One such agency that holds nearly 40 years of specialised experience in the luxury property sector is Engel & Völkers Barcelona.
Engel & Völkers Barcelona is one of the most internationally valued agencies and has a wide portfolio of properties including apartments, houses, flats, villas, penthouses or duplex flats, all of them located in the most exclusive areas of Barcelona. Before buying a property in Barcelona, don't hesitate to contact Engel & Völkers Barcelona.
In addition, on Saturday February 6 it was a dinner to welcome the Chinese New Year. Located in the Hotel Juan Carlos I with 800 guests: 1/4 were Spanish businessmen and 3/4 were Chinese entrepreneurs.
The event was attended by the Consul of China, people of Catalonia, the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce and associations of Chinese entrepreneurs in Barcelona (hospitality, education, import and export of textile and sport). There were also performances by Chinese artists and a charitable hand, associations of disabled people with whom the Chinese association always works.
Engel & Völkers Barcelona was also present to celebrate this new entry to the Chinese year.