A Chinese company just bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel for $1.95 billion. It is the highest price ever paid for a hotel at $1.4 million per room and appears to be the beginning of several similar acquisitions—the Chinese are buying New York.
We had a similar shock in 1989 when the Japanese bought Rockefeller Plaza and then too we thought the Japanese were going to become the dominant nation, but they stumbled and an American company bought it back. The Chinese will not stumble and are quickly moving to become the dominant nation of the 21st century.
At breakfast this morning an intern with Oscar de la Renta told me that Chinese fabrics had become too expensive and the industry had turned to India. I also recently watched two half-hour documentaries—one on how the Chinese had encased a sky scraper in glass so it might have its own pollution free climate and another on the growth of Beijing, which has a high speed metro system that laces through a city with old sections reminiscent of the Village and new sections direct copies of Manhattan skyscrapers. On Saturday I ran into a guided group of Chinese tourists eyeing Grand Central Station—perhaps the next purchase.