China Tops List of Countries For Most Millionaires Moving Abroad

A recent research report published by AfrAsia Bank listed the top 10 countries in the world that had the most outflow of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in 2019. China topped the list with the most millionaires leaving for other countries in that year, followed by India.

The study only covered HNWIs with a net worth of $1 million to $9.9 million who have settled in a new country for at least six months. The report also listed the top countries that have attracted the millionaires.

China saw 16,000 millionaires leave in 2019, much more than India in second place, which saw 7,000 of their financially wealthy leave the country. Russia ranked third with 5,000 millionaires leaving, followed by Hong Kong in fourth place, with 4,200 leaving the politically troubled city. Turkey, the UK, France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia came in the top ten countries to lose more millionaires.

According to the report, the top reasons for the millionaires to leave for other countries varied from tax, financial concerns, work opportunities, to the environment, better education, better health care, and escaping oppressive regimes.

As for the receiving countries, Australia topped the list, attracting 12,000 HNWI in 2019. The United States took second place with 10,800 HNWI, while Switzerland ranked third with 4,000. Portugal and Greece were also among the top 10 countries attracting HNWI, as they have investor immigration programs for EU residency and citizenship.

The report also laid out that 30 percent of the HNWI emigrated with investor visas, while others used traditional means of work visas, family visas, and obtaining second passports through ancestry.

International media have reported that many rich Chinese are fleeing China’s polluted cities and strict government, while also looking to protect their wealth. A number of China’s billionaires also left the country in 2020. SCMP reported that in 2014, “a Barclays Wealth Report found that around half of China’s rich intended to move to another country within five years.”

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese billionaire and art collector Liu Yiqian (R) speaks at an opening ceremony in Shanghai, China, for the exhibition of a $36 million Ming Dynasty tea cup he bought and paid for with his American Express card on Dec. 18, 2014. (Chinatopix via AP)

Among China’s rich are Chinese officials, who have been known for years to be sending their family members and moving their wealth to Western countries. As there are so many of them, the media has even given the phenomena the name “naked officials.” The brokers, both Chinese and Westerners, who help the officials move their money they accumulated in China through their official positions to offshore banks and invest in international businesses and properties are known as “white gloves.” Many Chinese businessmen have gotten rich through close connections with the regime’s officials and the communist party—benefiting from favorable policies and treatment.

In 2015, Chinese leader Xi Jinping launched “Operation Fox Hunt,” sending secret Chinese agents to foreign countries—including those don’t have extradition treaties with China—to locate and transfer corrupt officials back to China. It’s been revealed in media report in recent years that “Operation Fox Hunt” has also been used by the regime to target overseas Chinese dissidents and their family members.

U.S. officials said of the Chinese operation, “Any law enforcement activity by Chinese law enforcement in the United States of America must be done with the knowledge and concurrence of the United States government and its law enforcement entities.”

In 2020, the FBI indicted eight Chinese operatives engaged in Operation Fox Hunt for blackmailing Chinese dissidents.

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