US-based developers, who have ventured into China and provinceslike Chengdu, have been noticeably quiet about the state of theirproperties while they concentrate on providing financial aid andteams to the devastated areas. The May 12 quake, registering 7.9 onthe Richter scale, has claimed 62,000 lives with 30,000 stillmissing and more than five million people left homeless.

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To a large degree, the thousands of buildings and residencesthat crumbled were older structures and not newer ones being builtto international building codes, according to Mark Karlan,president of Strategic Partners Asia for Los Angeles-based CBRichard Ellis Investors. In Dujiangyan for example, news reportssay many residential buildings are cracked and now empty, but theydidn't topple.

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"It's way too early to say if there will be any meaningfulimpact from an investors' standpoint," Karlan tells GlobeSt.com."There will be a negligible economic impact on the nation as awhole, but there will be a massive impact on the region and massiveimpact on the people."

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A spokeswoman for Denver-based ProLogis reports its Chengduproperties escaped unscathed based on an assessment by itson-the-ground team. Tishman Speyer of New York City didn't respondby deadline about its properties, but there also hasn't been anypublic report of damage to its assets in Chengdu. "The kind ofinvestments we at 'Investors' buy would have survived," Karlanstresses. CBRE has 1,000 employees in brokerage and investment inChina in 14 offices, including Chengdu.

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Karlan points out that China's Tier II and III cities in thecenter of the country haven't yet developed economically becausethey aren't close to seaports or international airports so heexpects the impact on the country as a whole will be minimal. Heestimates 90% of China's economic activity is concentrated alongits eastern seaboard while Chengdu and other earthquake-zoneprovinces account for just 2.5% of the nation's GDP.

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"The foreign investment impact as a result of the earthquake inChengdu is relatively small," Karlan says. "This region representeda small portion of foreign investment and was likely to continuethat way for several years."

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The Chinese government's immediate response and openness,though, has shown a new side to Westerners. Karlan says manyWestern investors have long held a bias toward China, stereotypingit as cold and closed. "At Investors, we looked through that andunderstood the Western bias isn't always the right one," hesays.

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As media worldwide have noticed, protests over the upcomingOlympics, intended to showcase China to the world, have silencedsince the earthquake. The change in perception resulting from theearthquake is "a small, small positive," Karlan says. "The opennessof the response and the commitment of all elements of China'sgovernment are apparent. China is no longer seen as cold."

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