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Hong Kong has more millionaires than ever – but one in 10 are considering leaving the city

Survey finds the older and richer the millionaire, the higher the desire to leave Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2014, 2:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:28pm

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The number of millionaires in Hong Kong shot up by more than 20 per cent last year, but nearly one in 10 in the city are considering moving out.

According to a survey by Citibank, the higher the net worth, the greater the desire to leave the city.

Australia, Canada and the United States are the preferred destinations.

The number of people with HK$1 million or more in liquid assets - in the form of deposits and mutual fund investments, stocks and bonds - reached a record 732,000 last year, up 22 per cent from the previous year.

However, the average size of liquid asset holdings shrank 30 per cent to HK$3.1 million as new millionaires joined the pool with smaller holdings.

The survey, carried out by the University of Hong Kong, found more than 500 millionaires among the 4,046 adults it interviewed between November and January. Of the 500, it found that more than 9 per cent were hoping to emigrate.

"Most Hong Kong people want a place with a better educational system for their children," said Eddie Kwan King-hung, chairman of EK Immigration Consulting. "Some are also looking at another nationality status with better retirement benefits."

The political and social atmosphere could be among the reasons for the desire to migrate, Kwan said.

Few seem to be satisfied with the way Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is running the city. In the most recent opinion poll conducted by the university, Leung's approval rate stood at 25 per cent.

The survey did not ask people why they wanted to emigrate.

"The actual number [of those who wish to emigrate] should be lower [than 9 per cent], but I don't think this is a high number," said Priscilla Ng, country marketing director at Citibank global consumer banking in Hong Kong.

Of the 732,000 millionaires in Hong Kong, 49,000 - or 6.4 per cent - hold more than HK$10 million in liquid assets.

They showed more interest in migrating, with 14 per cent saying they hoped to live abroad - double the percentage of those with less than HK$10 million who expressed a similar desire.

By age group, millionaires aged 40 to 59 were the keenest to move out, with 13 per cent of them wanting to do so, compared with 3 per cent of those aged 21 to 39 and 5 per cent in the 60 to 79 group.

Australia is the most popular destination, with 26 per cent of the rich wishing to emigrate there, followed by Canada (23 per cent), the United States (22 per cent) and Taiwan (22 per cent).

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