Half of China's rich plan to move overseas

Key Points
  • Half of Chinese millionaires are considering moving overseas, a new survey said.
  • The majority plan to head to the U.S., according to the survey from the Hurun Report.
  • The most popular U.S. destination for wealthy Chinese moving to the U.S. is Los Angeles, followed by Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
The group estimates "tens of thousands" of Chinese are banned from exit at any one time. It also cites a 2022 academic paper by Chris Carr and Jack Wroldsen that found 128 cases of foreigners being exit-banned between 1995 and 2019, including 29 Americans and 44 Canadians.
Christian Keenan | Getty Images

Half of Chinese millionaires are considering moving overseas, and the U.S. remains their favorite destination, according to a new survey.

Among Chinese millionaires with a net worth of more than $1.5 million, half either plan to or are considering moving abroad, according to a survey from Hurun Report in association with Visas Consulting Group. The survey suggests that the flow of wealthy Chinese and Chinese fortunes into U.S. homes and buildings is likely to continue, helping demand and prices in certain real estate markets — especially in the U.S.

The U.S. remains the most popular destination for wealthy Chinese moving their families and fortunes abroad, according to the report. Canada ranks second, overtaking the U.K., which had ranked second but now ranks third. Australia comes in at fourth.

The favorite city for wealthy Chinese moving to the U.S. is Los Angeles, while Seattle ranks second followed by San Francisco. New York ranked fourth.

When asked for their main reasons for moving abroad, education was the top reason, followed by the "living environment."

"Education and pollution are driving China's rich to emigrate," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report. "If China can solve these issues, then the primary incentive to emigrate will have been taken away."

Yet the fear of a falling Chinese currency is also driving many rich Chinese — and their money — abroad. Fully 84 percent of Chinese millionaires are concerned about the devaluation of the yuan, up from 50 percent last year. Half are worried about the exchange rate of the dollar, foreign exchange controls and property bubbles in China.

So far, the Trump administration's restrictions on immigration have not touched the EB-5 program, a favorite of wealthy Chinese that allows them a path to citizenship in the U.S. in exchange for an investment in property of $500,000. Yet 27 percent of wealthy Chinese said waiting times are the biggest hindrance to overseas immigration.

Over 60 percent of wealthy Chinese are "optimistic" about China's economic development, but only 22 percent said that China's "high-speed development will continue and 44 percent said it will slow down.