Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Half of rich Chinese want to emigrate

SHANGHAI: Nearly half of Chinese who have assets worth more than 10 million yuan (S$2 million) are considering emigration, mainly to seek better opportunities for their children's education, results of a new survey showed.

According to the survey released at the weekend by the Hurun Report and Bank of China, 46 per cent of the 980 millionaires surveyed are considering leaving China.

Fourteen per cent have either emigrated or applied, said the survey, which was done in 18 Chinese cities from May to September this year.

Some 60 per cent want to leave to seek a better education for their children. Many also cited concerns about the security of their assets in China.

One-third of the people surveyed have engaged in 'investment immigration', which allows a person to emigrate after he agrees to first invest a certain amount of money in the host country. Some countries offer residency to foreign citizens who are prepared to invest large sums.

After education, protecting assets and retirement, other reasons listed for wanting to emigrate included the lack of a sufficient legal framework on the mainland leading to too many grey areas, a worsening environment for investment, and rising living costs and taxation.

The survey did not list the most popular destinations for China's rich emigrants, though state news agency Xinhua said last month that Canada and Australia are the two most favoured.

The Hurun survey said the average respondent was 42 years old and worth over 60 million yuan.

China now has 271 US-dollar-billionaires, according to Hurun's 2011 rich list, up from 189 last year, despite the global economic crisis.

The latest survey said that 960,000 people in China are now worth more than 10 million yuan, up by 9.7 per cent from last year.

More than 30 years of booming economic growth have allowed some Chinese to build up vast fortunes. Many of the country's richest have made their money in the construction and property sectors, as well as in a growing domestic retail market.

A woman surnamed Luo, who has emigrated to Britain, said: 'To buy a house in Beijing, the price now is the same as that abroad, but you enjoy no other benefits.

'To live abroad, the cost is not higher, but you definitely enjoy it more,' she was quoted as saying in a recent issue of popular magazine Lifeweek.

The survey was greeted with envy online. Many users on microblogging website Sina Weibo said they would have done the same if they were rich.

'If you can flee, flee immediately,' a microblogger using the name 'Jiang Langzi' said.