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March abroad may not be way out

2011-11-03 15:07    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Zhang Chan
Nearly half of the Chinese millionaires are considering leaving the country.

Nearly half of the Chinese millionaires are considering leaving the country.

(Ecns.cn)--Although the world's economy in the year 2011 remains on the ropes, compared with 2010, the number of Chinese people whose assets exceed 10 million yuan (US$1.57 million) increased by 9.7%, reaching 960,000, according to a joint "Private Banking White Paper 2011" by Hurun Research Institute and the Bank of China.

The report interviewed individuals, most of whom do business with real estate or retail, with assets of more than 10 million yuan in 18 Chinese cities to find out how China's super rich manage their wealth. The average asset holdings of the 980 surveyed were 60 million yuan (US$9.44 million), with the average age being 42.

But instead of focusing on the big fortune that these people have made, another figure released by the joint report attracted more people's attention. Nearly half of the Chinese millionaires are considering leaving the country, while 14% have or are in the process of applying for emigration.

What drives them to where

About one third of the people among the 14% are investing in foreign countries as a step toward emigration, while a quarter of them do so to diversify and manage risk. As many countries provide foreign people who invest large amounts of money with permanent rights of living and even citizenship, these people can emigrate at any time if they want.

According to the report, half of the investors want to leave China to seek better overseas education opportunities for their children and find themselves more comfortable in foreign countries where they think the weather and the living conditions are better.

"Buying a house in Beijing costs almost the same as in foreign countries, but the welfare in the two places is different," said a woman who has just moved to Britain. "And when the living cost is the same, you can enjoy more conveniences in Britain than in Beijing."

"The exam-oriented education in China has killed creativity in many children. I am already the victim of this type of education, so I do not want my children to go through the old path that I have taken," said a real estate businessman who is taking action to emigrate.

"My business focus may still be in China, but I want a permanent resident card on hand. Then my wife and my child can go abroad first," added the man.

Besides these reasons, some believe that personal and capital safety is also an increasing concern prompting many rich people to want to emigrate. They want to transfer their wealth overseas before it is too late.

"In China, I need to be very careful about my words if I want to protect my assets and develop my business. We have seen too many worried entrepreneurs nowadays who are afraid that they may end up in prison for offending Chinese officials," said Mr. Su who is considering a move to the United States, but refused to give out his full name.

"In addition, I also want a second child, but currently in China, it is still not permitted to give birth to two children in a family," added Su.

For most respondents, North America is the top choice, while the United States is the most popular immigration destination for these Chinese millionaires, attracting 40% of the respondents who are interested in leaving China, followed closely by Canada (37%), Singapore, and Europe.

The good education and medical system in the US attracts many Chinese millionaires. Last year, about 68,000 Chinese people got a permanent resident card to the US, covering 7% of the total number of Chinese emigrants.