Xi’s Policies Driving Rich Businessmen To Flee China

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s crackdown on industries such as technology, real estate and education, and his push for “common prosperity” over the past two years, have terrified China’s wealthy community. Especially since Xi Jinping won his third term at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party in October last year, rich people’s worries about their future in China have worsened.

Bloomberg News reported on January 25 that there is a massive surge in Chinese seeking to immigrate to North American countries. Wealthy Chinese are desperate to move as soon as possible. It reported that China faced about $150 billion in annual capital flight and would face a large outflow of funds in 2023, which might put pressure on its currency, yuan and the current account.

A large number of wealthy Chinese have already immigrated overseas since last year. About 10,800 wealthy Chinese have immigrated in 2022, the most since 2019 and second only to Russia, according to New World Wealth, a global data intelligence partner of investment immigration consultancy Henley and Partners. As Beijing lifts travel restrictions, rich businessmen are accelerating immigration, and they are pouring cash into real estate and assets overseas. The consultancy firm found that inquiries from Chinese clients, most of them from the business community, about immigration more than quadrupled in the days after China reopened compared with a week earlier. Immigration numbers were low in the early days of the COVID pandemic, but inquiries have doubled by 2022.

Juwai IQI, a real estate firm that helps sell international properties to Asian clients, said the number of inquiries from mainland Chinese buyers fell 26 per cent in 2021 and 11 per cent in 2022 but rose 55 per cent so far in 2023 and remained at this level. Wealthy Chinese are worried about Xi Jinping’s so-called “common prosperity” slogan, so they are looking for overseas private equity and real estate investment opportunities in places such as the United States and Japan, asset management companies said.

The online edition of Foreign Affairs magazine published an article on January 11 that said that emigrating to a “greener” place is no longer the only wish of the rich in China, and anger is not only erupted by young people. Both sentiments have now permeated the general populace. In recent weeks, increasingly violent protests and unrest have targeted Chinese police and party-state representatives. At the 20th National Congress opening ceremony held in October last year, Xi Jinping’s speech touched the nerve of the rich. “Common prosperity” has appeared many times in Xi’s speeches as a major principle and policy. He regards “common prosperity” as part of “Chinese-style modernisation” and vowed to standardise the wealth accumulation mechanism and “regulate excessively high income.” After conducting interviews with rich people who fled China, as well as lawyers, immigration experts and consultants who deal with the rich in China, the Financial Times believes that the 20th Congress is a watershed for how the rich in China see China’s future.