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Chinese Money Triggers a Dizzying Rally in Manila Property

  • Condo prices soar in some Manila areas on Chinese demand
  • Gambling boom has drawn 100,000 mostly Chinese workers
The Linear Makati development in the San Antonio Village area of Makati City.
The Linear Makati development in the San Antonio Village area of Makati City.Photographer: Carlo Gabuco/Bloomberg

In Manila’s main financial district and its fringes, signs of the new inhabitants are everywhere: the restaurants serving steaming Chinese hotpots and dumplings, the Mandarin broadcasts at the Mall of Asia, and the soaring property prices.

An estimated 100,000 migrants, mostly Chinese, have flooded into pockets of the Philippines capital since September 2016, and the deluge is rippling through the city’s real estate market in ways that are unique among the world’s urban centers. While Chinese investors have been snapping up big swathes of high-end housing in Hong Kong, London and New York for years to move their money offshore, this new rush is motivated by something different: Manila’s booming gaming industry.