Nearly 60 percent of China’s wealthy reported they are considering immigration, according to a recent study by Bank of China and Hurun Research Institute.
The report classified Chinese citizens with more than 10 million yuan in investible assets, a little over 1.5 million USD, as “rich” to track the trend. Roughly one-third of those labeled as such have overseas investments amounting to 19 percent total assets.
The figure is low compared to findings of a recent survey by the Institute of Private Investors, which reported U.S. families holding $30 million or more in investible assets keep one third of their assets overseas.
But the two countries differ in their preferred asset products. Most American wealthy families buy stocks overseas while also buying into hedge funds and private equity with exposure abroad. According to analysis by the Wall Street Journal, the trending pursuit of higher profits in emerging economies is a result of globalization.
China’s rich, however, reportedly invested 51 percent of overseas assets into real estate and nearly 30 percent into foreign exchange deposits. Their investments were typically directed toward more developed countries like Canada and the U.S.
The report’s findings suggest profit is not necessarily a priority in the decision to invest overseas, taking a backseat to immigration and education for China’s wealthier families.
Among those who have foreign assets, about half reported investing overseas for the sake of their children’s education. Thirty-two percent said the decision was in preparation to immigrate.
Fourteen percent of them have already begun the immigration process, and another 46 percent said they are considering it, again eyeing the U.S. and Canada as destinations.
Attorney Jerry Zhang, partner of Zhang & Associates, said the firm’s core focus is in Chinese immigration cases. In recent years he’s seen a sharp increase in clients looking to invest.
“There are four main reasons for the Chinese who do the investment immigration: first, their children’s education and future development; second, safe and better lives in the U.S., such as clean environments, stable political and judicial systems, and protection of private property; third, transfer of their funds to the U.S.; and personal freedom and safety from government controls.”
Rocco Shen, an attorney at Li & Associates, said despite the increase in investor immigrant cases from China, the annual quota has not yet been met.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, China ranked first among all countries with 722 investor immigrant cases in 2010. It would seem their position at the top is fairly well protected; Korea came in second, with a mere 295 cases.
Reach staff reporter Kay Chinn here.