The Dragon Mart Cancun project has created quite a stir ever since the local populations of Cancun and Puerto Morelos became aware of the Chinese development's plans back in 2011. What exactly is this project, and what's all the fuss?

DragonMart 

DragonMart 

Dragon Mart Cancun is a large development brought to the Riviera Maya from China by the Chinamex company. With an estimated investment of $180 million US dollars, Dragon Mart Cancun proposes an expo and sales center with office complexes, over 3,000 shops, extensive warehouses and about 722 homes, all covering nearly 1,400 acres. This immense Chinese expo center would be located 15 minutes south of Cancun International Airport, on KM 333 of the Cancun-Chetumal Federal Highway between Cancun and Puerto Morelos. Chinese merchandise to be sold includes construction materials, furniture, electronics, car parts, toys, jewelry and more, with mostly small and medium sized businesses.

DragonMart 

The Dragon Mart Cancun project promises thousands of jobs for Mexicans. It also hopes to greatly increase the region's business travel tourism and diversify the local economy, which could be a huge boost to make the area less dependent on tourism in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Many locals hope to be able to purchase Chinese products at a lower price.

DragonMart 

Local critics of Dragon Mart Cancun claim that the complex will clash with the land's zoning laws and ecological restrictions, hurting hundreds of acres of jungle, while those in charge of the project insist that Dragon Mart will be constructed on land that has already been used for petroleum in previous years. Residents of the small nearby beach town of Puerto Morelos wonder how the large incoming population of Chinese residents would affect the local culture, worried about overdevelopment and other issues. The city of Cancun is especially concerned about how the opening of Dragon Mart Cancun might affect locally owned small and medium sized businesses.

DragonMart 

Lack of transparency and public information on the plans in addition to inconsistent numbers on the size and scope of the development have caused concern among many locals living in Cancun and Puerto Morelos, as well as conflicting reports on licensing approval and zoning. Despite Dragon Mart Cancun's claims, many sources are reporting that the project will offer little (if any) jobs for Mexicans, bringing in little economic benefit for the local area.

DragonMart

A public meeting was held on November 30, 2012 at Universidad del Caribe in Cancun, hosted by the organization Voces Unidas de Puerto Morelos (United Voices of Puerto Morelos), in order to increase public awareness of the Dragon Mart Cancun project and gather information. With addresses by authors, professors and local activists, the meeting covered points such as transparency, China's intentions in Mexico, preservation of natural resources and socio-economic effects. One point that continually popped up was the question, "How do we want to grow as a population?" Many of the speakers touched on where Cancun and the Riviera Maya are headed in economic terms, and what questions we should ask ourselves before opposing or approving this project. Cancun City President Julian Ricalde closed the meeting ensuring that his government supports the activists, and that everything will be done on a strictly legal basis.

Laura Winfree 

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging, writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Nightclubs and weekly beach trips are her favorite part of living in Cancun!

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