The wealthiest members of Chinese society aren’t satisfied with what their fortunes can afford them in China, and are looking to move to greener pastures abroad. Or at least that’s what a new survey, conducted by the Hurun Report in partnership with Visas Consulting Group, suggests. According to the results, half of China’s millionaires have considered moving out of the country or already have plans to do so.
The survey found that China’s wealthiest citizens, those with a net worth of over $1.5 million, simply are not satisfied with the quality of life that they enjoy in their homeland. The report cites education and the environment as the most significant considerations in the millionaires’ decisions to move.
Despite China’s prestigious universities, it’s still hard to compete with the established reputations of Western institutions of higher learning. Meanwhile, China’s constant battle against pollution is enough to drive anyone away. So, while there may be many things that money can buy in China, clean air and an impressive degree are not necessarily two of them.
Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher at the Hurun Report, believes that if China reduces pollution and improves public education, “then the primary incentive to emigrate will have been taken away,” reports CNBC. But the unreliable strength of the Chinese yuan, property bubbles and strict business regulations are also factors which surveyed individuals cited as contributing to their decision to pack their bags and move elsewhere.
The United States is still the most popular destination for Chinese emigrants, and the affluent flock to cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. Right behind the US in the number of Chinese millionaires is Canada, then the UK, and finally Australia.
One of the reasons the US is such a popular destination is because it has programs such as the EB-5. This scheme allows wealthy Chinese to purchase a “path to citizenship” by investing $500,000 or more in American properties. For whatever reason, the Trump administration has yet to crack down on these sort of deals, but that doesn’t mean becoming an American citizen is easy. The waiting-list for citizenship can be long and arduous, even for the world’s financial elite.
Based on recent calculations, China can afford to lose a few millionaires here and there. And, the survey of 304 of China’s millionaires actually demonstrated that the desire to emigrate has decreased slightly this year.
By Emma Abrams
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