News / Asia

China's Wealthy Set Their Sights Abroad

A wealthy Chinese immigrant family inspect a villa in the high-class neighborhood of West Vancouver, Canada, June 11, 2011.
A wealthy Chinese immigrant family inspect a villa in the high-class neighborhood of West Vancouver, Canada, June 11, 2011.

As China's wealth increases, so does the number of well-off Chinese seeking to emigrate to other countries.

Their reasons vary: some say they want to switch citizenship to improve educational opportunities for their children, others say they are trying to  “hedge their bets” against an uncertain economic future.

The U.S. state of Florida, with its sunshine and beaches, is on the other side of the planet from the southern Chinese commercial center, Guangzhou.

The distance does not deter one ambitious Guangzhou resident who is in the process of obtaining an investor immigrant visa to the United States.

She says she is willing to leave because she thinks her two children will have better opportunities for education. She says holding a U.S. passport also will make it easier to obtain visas to go to other countries.

Many wealthy Chinese do not publicly talk about their desire to immigrate since such a move can be seen as disloyal to their country. This would-be emigre agreed to speak to VOA only on the condition that she not be identified.

To qualify for her visa, she and her husband are planning to invest in a wind farm in South Dakota. She says they made their decision after a trip to the United States in 2009.

She says her friends in the United States introduced her to lawyers, and then after she returned to China, she said she was bombarded with “all sorts of advertisements” about immigrating to other countries.

She says they were considering moving to two U.S. cities, Chicago or Tampa, because that is where their friends live. They decided Chicago is too cold, she says, and because they come from a warm climate, they chose Tampa.

For more than 20 years, the United States has had an immigration program under which a foreigner can qualify for U.S. citizenship if he or she invests one million dollars in a venture that creates at least ten jobs for Americans.

Charles Bennett, the head of consular affairs at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, says in China, most of the interest in the program so far has come from American companies that are trying to find Chinese investors. But, he notes that it is only recently that many Chinese could even meet the steep financial requirements for the program.

“The interest has grown over the life of the program of course because 20 years ago, there weren't the same number of people that there are now who would be able to qualify for this type of visa. So, there has been more interest recently," Bennett says.

China’s economy has recorded some of the world's highest annual growth rates for more than a decade, and the trend is expected to continue this year.

The apparent paradox of those growing riches is that there is also an increasing number of the newly-wealthy who are seeking to emigrate.

Charles Qi is the president of Beijing East J&P Star Consulting, a company that helps Chinese people obtain visas to other countries. When he started 16 years ago, he mostly helped people apply for skilled worker status. Now he helps customers who have the means apply for investor citizenship abroad, especially to Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States.

Qi says before 2000, he only had about 20 to 30 business applications each year. Now, more than ten years later, he says the applications have increased ten-fold, to a few hundred business investor applications each year.

Qi says he thinks that, although his clients may leave behind their Chinese citizenship when they emigrate, many of them are still Chinese in their actions and in their hearts.

Most of his clients still have their equipment and business in China, and he thinks this type of immigration will help make China more open in the future and will have a positive impact on China's economic development.

The American economy has not been growing as strongly as in China, in recent years, but William Zarit, a commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, says he believes many Chinese still see the United States as a safer investment.

“We don't know what's going to happen here in the next three to five years economically, how hard that landing is going to be," says Zarit. "So, I think investors here in China are thinking of that also, you know, let's diversify and get a steady [return]. We might not be getting the return on investment that I possibly would get here [in China] in whatever the industry, maybe, but I think I will go to America anyhow, to hedge my bet.”

Although Chinese who are thinking of emigrating abroad do not generally talk publicly about their decision making, there is a heated debate on the topic in Internet chat rooms.

In those online discussions, commentators suggest that the decision to leave China is not solely an economic one.

One real estate mogul recently posted an online comment bemoaning China's overall lack of a sense of basic security for things like property, food, air, education and basic rights. He says this is not only the main reason motivating people to leave the country, it is also the main thing threatening China's overall stability.

You May Like

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs