By Moving Abroad, China’s Wealthy May Change How They Invest

In a global survey of high-net-worth individuals, almost half of Chinese respondents said they planned to emigrate within five years.


China looks poised to shift from importer to exporter of capital. Will the money go in the pockets of its richer citizens? In a recent report by U.K. bank Barclays based on a global survey of some 2,000 high-net-worth individuals, 47 percent of mainland Chinese respondents said they planned to emigrate within five years, versus 15 percent for the overall group. Their top destinations were Hong Kong and Canada; more than three quarters cited better educational and employment prospects for their children as the main reason for moving.

Affluent Chinese favor real assets, notes Sebastian Dovey, managing partner at Scorpio Partnership, a London-based wealth management consulting firm. One result of money leaving China is higher property prices in his city, Dovey says. “There is a pent-up amount of capital, particularly from the wealthy community.”

Didier von Daeniken, head of wealth management for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Barclays, thinks well-heeled individuals from China and other countries may make temporary moves in the coming years to take advantage of opportunities. Increasing mobility might prompt some to rethink the way they invest, von Daeniken says: “While individuals in emerging economies often tend to have a higher risk appetite than those in the West, as investors become exposed to different cultures and economies, we could see a convergence in financial behavior.”

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