Over the last eight years, the surge in Chinese immigrants to Prince Edward Island (PEI) has brought about a transformation in the Island’s economy.
From the start of 2006, thousands of new immigrants began arriving at Prince Edward Island. A significant number of them hailed from China. Most of these immigrants came as immigrant investors through the provincial nominee program, which required these immigrants to invest in a business on the Island. Over the past eight years, many of these immigrants have settled themselves in Prince Edward Island and have started their own business ventures too.
When she left China in 2010 with her husband, Vicki Li had not even heard of bagels. In China, they had been running a successful steel supply business; that too, in a province that had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Today, although she is not a Canadian citizen yet, she is the owner and operator of the Great Canadian Bagel in Charlottetown. She liked living in the PEI and so she bought the business to support the family.
In China, John Li worked for one of China’s largest food corporations for 20 years. He was in a senior role in the company’s management in 2011, when he quit his job and immigrated to PEI. Upon arriving in PEI, Li launched Golden Bridge Marketing and Consulting. In conjunction with his three employees, he helps the PEI government and the Island food producers establish connections with the markets in China, which represent a potentially huge market for Canada’s very high quality foodstuff.
Gavian Fang came to PEI from China as a student in 2009 and attended the University of Prince Edward Island. She graduated in May 2012 before moving to Toronto with her husband, where she worked in a bubble teashop. Six months later, they returned to PEI, where she started her own bubble teashop – Charlotte Tea in the Confederation Court Mall in January 2013.
Jason Lee is the program coordinator for PEI Connectors, which works to connect newcomers to Prince Edward Island to the existing business community. He said, “These are people coming from a different country with different cultures, different business styles, in many cases there’s a significant language barrier. They were getting here on P.E.I. and they were looking for some help”. PEI Connectors has helped over more than 260 clients, thus far. All of these 260 clients – barring a dozen, are from China.
Source: CBC News