Not all the wealthiest individuals around the world prefer to remain in their country of origin. Research has estimated that China is coming in second as the country that loses most of its cash-rich population to other nations, standing only behind Russia.

In the Henley Global Citizens Report for the second quarter of 2022, Henley and Partners provided projections for the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) who relocate or emigrate from a country around the world. Respectively, the two figures are categorized by net outflows and inflows.

Henley and Partners is a global investment consulting firm.

The company believed Russia would have the most extensive emigration of millionaires this year, with an expected loss of 15,000 HNWIs. This represents 15% of the country’s overall HNWIs, a significant proportion. 

Mainland China comes second, having a 10,000 net outflow. Yet, it is not a dramatic loss for China since the second-largest-world economy is also home to more HNWIs, at 823,800, and therefore it only stands for 1% of the total HNWIs population.

Still, Henley and Partners commented that the current exodus might be more detrimental than in the past, given that China’s overall wealth growth has slowed in recent years.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong ranks fourth with as many as 3,000 millionaires in net outflows.

In the first quarter of this year, the company noticed a substantial increase in the number of investment immigration inquiries it received from East Asia. Among that, China accounted for around 57% of those inquiries, and Hong Kong came in second.

Denise Ng, Director of Henley & Partners Hong Kong and Head of North Asia, believed COVID-19 curbs are the main reasons that drove the wealthies away. 

She noted that Chinese citizens have been on a roller coaster with repeated lockdowns, shutdowns, and mass testing as the pandemic refuses to forgo the country for good.

In addition to the Ukraine war, Ng believed that “many wealthy individuals in the [East Asia] region seriously consider the need to seek alternative residence and citizenship as a way to reduce the risks they are exposed to.”

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