China's rich seek emigration rights: survey
Pedestrians walk past the skyline of the city's financial district in Shanghai on October 8, 2010. Most of China's rich have used their wealth to obtain residency rights abroad or considered doing so, according to a report by US business consulting firm Bain & Company.
Mainland China had more than 700,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with at least $1.6 million in investable assets at the end of last year, according to a survey by Bain and China Merchants Bank, more than twice as many as in 2008.
They are increasingly looking to move their assets abroad to diversify risk and are considering emigration, one of the Bain report's co-authors said Wednesday.
Many wealthy Chinese can take advantage of other countries' investment immigration policies, which offer citizenship in return for property purchases or bank deposits.
Most rich Chinese -- more than 60 percent of HNWIs and 70 percent of ultra-HNWIs with over $16 million in investable assets -- had taken up such opportunities or thought about doing so, the report said.
Approximately another 10 percent of respondents said they would not emigrate themselves but expected their children to do so, it added.
"Chinese HNWIs are seeking risk diversification in different markets," said Jennifer Zeng, Bain partner in Beijing and co-author of the report.
"Given demands for children's overseas education and immigration life planning, some HNWIs expect to spend more time abroad going forward, therefore overseas investment becomes a natural need for them," she said, adding they were also attracted by offshore opportunities.
Pollution and food safety concerns in China also played a role in emigration considerations, the survey showed.
More than one-third of HNWIs and over half of ultra-HNWIs owned investments abroad, the survey showed, both roughly doubling from 2011.
Six out of 10 respondents who already invested abroad expected to increase their holdings, it said.
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