Half of China’s millionaires ‘plan to leave country within five years’

Report finds 47pc of high net worth mainlanders plan to move abroad in the next five years

Around half of China’s rich aim to move to another country within the next five years, according to a Barclays Wealth report.

Yesterday’s report questioned more than 2,000 individuals from 17 countries, all of whom had more than US$1.5 million in total net worth, and 200 with more than US$15 million.

“Around the world, a growing number of high net worth individuals are becoming more international in their outlook and behaviour, and moving more frequently from country to country,” the report said.

Nearly half of those surveyed had already lived or were living in another country, while many more intended to move in the near future.

Respondents from the mainland were the most eager to move, with 47 per cent saying they planned to do just that in the next five years, compared with just 16 per cent of Hongkongers.

Twenty-three per cent of Singaporeans said they planned to relocate within five years, the second highest, followed by 20 per cent of British respondents.

American and Indian millionaires were the most attached to their homelands, with only 6 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, saying they wanted to leave.

Mobility among the rich has increased worldwide, with 20 per cent of respondents having lived in three or more countries. Entrepreneurs are twice as likely to be planning a move to another country in the next five years.

Reasons to leave included educational and employment opportunities for children overseas (78 per cent), preferable economic climate and greater security (73 per cent), and health care and social services (18 per cent).

“The wealthy have a choice of going anywhere in the world and they go where they can get professional services, and access to everything from property through to arts and entertainment,” said James Faulconbridge, an expert on globalisation and mobility at Lancaster University in England.

Around 30 per cent of Chinese respondents listed Hong Kong as their top destination, followed by Canada at 23 per cent.

Immigration to Canada has become more difficult in recent months after an investor visa scheme used by many rich Chinese was scrapped due to an insurmountable backlog of applications. A revamped scheme is expected to be launched later this year, but Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in March that the required amount needed to qualify would be more than double that of the previous visa’s C$800,000 (HK$5.6 million).

“We want Chinese investors in Canada and the door is open, the pathways are multiple,” Alexander said. “We are making these changes for them.”