Report: Where Rich Chinese Want to Live

Beijing – A growing number of wealthy Chinese are choosing to live and work abroad.  Almost two-thirds of Chinese with more than $1.6 million in the bank have emigrated, or are planning to, according to research firm Hurun, a research firm that studies trends in China.

The idea is less popular among the super rich. Only a third of those worth more than 100 million yuan ($16 million) say they want to emigrate.

And moving abroad doesn’t mean wealthy Chinese are leaving for good – only 15% are planning to give up their nationality.

So where are they heading? Europe has become more popular recently, while more traditional destinations are still proving attractive. Here are the hotspots.

The United States is the favorite destination for wealthy Chinese.
Almost 82,000 individuals born in China were granted permanent resident status by the U.S. in 2012, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The number was even higher in 2011.

Only Mexico sends more immigrants to the U.S. A program that allows foreigners to invest $500,000 in exchange for a green card has been popular with Chinese, although most are still granted entry for other reasons.

Access to quality education is one of the biggest draws for Chinese hoping to move to the U.S. – along with cleaner skies and water supplies.

Europe is growing ever more popular with wealthy Chinese, partly as countries on the continent’s periphery provide incentives to attract investment.

Battered by the global financial crisis, Cyprus is offering residency visas to anyone willing to pony up €300,000 ($405,000). Portugal offers a similar deal for €500,000 ($675,000).

In Greece, which has seen many of its young people depart for northern Europe, just €250,000 ($338,000) in real estate investment will result in a five-year residency permit.


Canada has long been a top destination for Chinese migrants, and sizable communities have developed across the country.

The cities of Vancouver and Toronto are especially popular. At the last count, the city of Toronto was home to more than 280,000 Chinese, or 11.3% of the population.

In Vancouver, Chinese immigrants find an established community of former Hong Kong residents who left the former British Colony ahead of its 1997 handover to China.


Australia has also launched a program that can lead to permanent residency for anyone willing to make a sizable investment in the country.

This one is pricey though. Chinese hoping to emigrate have to put down 5 million Aussie dollars ($4.5 million).

Since the scheme began in November 2012, 91% of the 545 applicants for the visas have been Chinese nationals.

The influx of foreign money is contributing to rising home prices, especially in Sydney. Property sales in the city spiked by 15% in 2013 alone, according to Australian Property Monitors.


Singapore is a tightly-controlled city state, but it is also one of the richest places in Asia, a center for international business, and welcomes immigrants.

Chinese are already the city’s largest ethnic group, making up around 70% of the population.

There are 5.4 million people living in Singapore, and around 500,000 of those are permanent residents – often highly skilled foreigners that are not citizens. The country is also home to hundreds of thousands of lower-income migrant workers.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, the former British colony has been one of China’s special administrative regions since the 1997 handover.

More than 90% of residents are ethnic Chinese, and the territories have very close ties, but there’s no open door. Chinese that live on the mainland must apply to visit or relocate to Hong Kong.

The economies are tightly linked, and many of China’s rich are likely attracted to the freewheeling brand of capitalism practiced in Hong Kong.

Beijing billionaires may find the language difficult, however. Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, while Mandarin dialects are popular in northern China. Source: Hurun Report