Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Millionaires Fleeing China

Estimates vary, but the country could now have as many as a million US dollar millionaires. But a recent survey by the Bank of China and influential publisher, the Hurun Report, has revealed what people with wealthy Chinese friends have known anecdotally for some time: that many rich Chinese people are getting on planes and heading for the exit. Of the 980 people polled, each with assets of more than 10m yuan ($1.6m), over half said they were considering or have already taken steps to emigrate from China. Another survey published in April by China Merchants Bank and Bain & Company found similar results. Almost 60% of 2,600 high-net-worth individuals questioned by that survey said they were either considering emigration or had already begun the process. Among the reasons they cited most frequently are China’s bad pollution, dodgy food-safety standards, corruption and the lack of legal protections. Many also want to secure foreign educations for their children.
China has an amazingly dynamic economy, but this has not yet made the country a very nice place to live. Hence the flight of so many of its most successful citizens abroad. The absence of a functioning judicial system that can restrain corrupt party bosses strikes me as an especially big problem here: rich people don't enjoy the thought that their money could be taken from them at somebody's whim.

Michele Bachman may think that the US should copy China's system, but even rich Chinese people know better. Instead of repealing Medicaid (part of her solution), we should be setting aside immigration restrictions and doing all we can to get those dissatisfied Chinese businessmen to move here.

No comments: