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  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 9:13am
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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

Poll

  • Higher-quality education for children: 8%
  • Better political and social atmosphere: 48%
  • More investment opportunities: 4%
  • Better environment: 36%
  • Other: 3%
19 Mar 2014
  • Higher-quality education for children
  • Better political and social atmosphere
  • More investment opportunities
  • Better environment
  • Other
Total number of votes recorded: 560
 

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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This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
More millionaires, more there are poor. The economic of zero sum. Here in Hong Kong, the money has never been in poor’s pocket. The money has been legally withheld from the poor.
lenali2003
The millionaires are probably the think tanks of hong kong as they should be the ones with higher educational level and social and political aspirations. The government ought to do something to get their hearts back for the betterment of the city.
pluinbs@gmail.com
Forget it!
Once a person decide to migrate, nothing would stop them!
HK Gov't had its hand full since 1997 and this issue is not even under their radar!
johnyuan
To len....
.
Your comment is most witty and succinctly pointing out the state of being what Hong Kong is.
bagelbagel
What can one actually buy with a million these days?
Yingnam Fong
The outflow of rich people 20 years back is real while the present one is the prediction only. Not all the people worry about this behavior. As can be seen and remembered, people chose to leave the city also made available many job vacancies for many junior guys to climb up the ladder more quickly. That was a pleasant moment for many guys indeed. The actual figure of emigrants is said to stand in the range of 600k, representing about 10% of the then Hong Kong population. I don't know how many of those who chose to leave the city have shown regret for the decision. The regret includes loss in earning, mess in life, desolation in social life, long term suffering perhaps in marriage life and so on. So, based on this pattern, what would be the big deal for such a phenomenon to happen. As we know, many young men are complaining about the poor promotion prospect, fewer opportunity to get rich and so on. If that is to happen, that will be a good news for many guys eager to stay and contribute to Hong Kong. By same token, many guys might feel sorry for themselves. The cleaner air might not help them to stay afloat the strange environment. Before embarking a relocation plan, consult more veteran astronauts on the pros and cons. These people can perhaps tell more on the two sides of the relocation story!
kctony
The motive of emigration has always been the betterment of life.
During the 80s and 90s the betteroffs tried to escape the threat of communism. They represented the minority of immigrants but the social problems of many of these astronaut families are the media and tabloid favorites.
The majority of immigrants are not astronaut families. Today they are the ordinary Joes from mainland China. Huang was a Fedex deliveryman in Guangzhou. He moved to Vancouver with his wife and 10 year old daughter in 2000. He got a similar job and his wife worked as a cashier in a Chinese grocery story. Life was tough to start over but they could manage to own a nice small townhouse and a Honda Civic. Today his daughter works in one of the Big 4 accounting firms.
Think he will ever regret leaving his homeland? This is a typical immigrant family trying to better their lives.

kctony
The motive of emigration has always been the betterment of life.
During the 80s and 90s the betteroffs tried to escape the threat of communism. They represented the minority of immigrants but the social problems of many of these astronaut families are the media and tabloid favorites.
The majority of immigrants are not astronaut families. Today they are the ordinary Joes from mainland China. Huang was a Fedex deliveryman in Guangzhou. He moved to Vancouver with his wife and 10 year old daughter in 2000. He got a similar job and his wife worked as a cashier in a Chinese grocery story. Life was tough to start over but they could manage to own a nice small townhouse and a Honda Civic. Today his daughter works in one of the Big 4 accounting firms.
Think he will ever regret leaving his homeland? This is a typical immigrant family trying to better their lives.

Hum-Balang
A few more 2-cent theories- why do you think Yale Harvard Stanford are worth getting into? Well they get hugh R&D fundings from the government and the private sectors- emulate that. Are their graduates necessarily better than the others- it's the Revolving Door RD policy- the Goldman Sachs, Mayer Browns only hired from these so they become the short-cuts. We can certainly turn HKU, HKBU and HKPU into that couldn't we?
Create enough RD & R&D amongst these nodes [in the industries with the existing universities] and boom why must our children stay and live in USA with connections that they may not end up using back here in HK? Isn't the new Rome in Beijing and Shanghai?
Tung Chee-wah vision in empowering the education sector can surely be shared albeit he only went as far as building more secondary schools, CY Leung ought to be able to do more and better!
Atelier Mackay Design Real-Estate
"Most Hong Kong people want a place with a better educational system for their children," Focalize on that problem, for your children are your future. In the meantime USA, Australia, great destinations, but undoubtedly Switzerland has the finest international educational system in the world (Le Rosey),real-estate stability & luxury living in the world.

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