• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 3:41pm

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


  • 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

HKD$1m in liquid assets...so basically everyone working in Central at anything above fresh grad or OL level.
Misleading article: a person who is only a HKD millionaire surely cannot be considered rich.
Even USD 1 Mio. is not much (in HK you barely get a 500-600 sqft apartment for that).
Otherwise interesting survey but nothing new and leaves lots of questions: e.g., why would these people want to relocate? How many of those are originally from Hong Kong and how many are foreigners or mainlanders who only residing in HK?
think of all the chip shop owner sons in Leeds who will be handed that status by way of deng uk village house rights
the contractor builds the house for 650k then it goes on the market @ 35k rent or 10m sale
Ridiculous situation
Look at the legal rights of tenants here - you will not find any after 2004 with this crony Government pandering to property & HY Kook interests
The point of becoming a millionaire in Hong Kong is so that you can emigrate to someplace nice and begin to enjoy life and offer you family a better future. Only billionaires would choose to stay, because they can enjoy a good like in Hong Kong.
The article didn't say that HK education is the main problem. If I want to leave, it would be because of the numbers of protests in the streets against everything, and expect more when universal suffrage -or not-is pursued.
Lets consider 2,600,000 families in HK. So 28% of HK families have more than HK$1 mill spare cash. And 1.8% of families have more than 10 million spare cash.
This is just spare cash we are talking about and does not include property.
Unlike bellows comments I think that someone in US would feel good if they held US$130,00 cash outside of their house / mortgage. As HK residents tend to pay off mortgages faster than their US counterparts I think you will find these HK millionaires are far better off than their US counterparts.
The millionaires are probably the think tanks of hong kong as they should be the ones with higher educational level and social and political aspirations. The government ought to do something to get their hearts back for the betterment of the city.
I am not a millionaire but I still want to leave this city where the roads are not full of filth and the trees sway in cleaner air. Ironically, it's the people who are not well off and possess technical skills can find it easy to emigrate.
Hope the administrators can read this newspaper: people are so upset with the awful education standards - fix it!
SCMP Kanis Li's reporting obviously missed an angle in this article - what does it mean to be a HK$ Millionaire in 2014, compared with pre-GFC or from the ranking of the Big Mac or Gini Index? Was the USA printing money in QE1-2-3 the root cause? Will dropping the HK$ peg with USD and re-pegging HK$ to Renminbi help in the long run? Then why 10%, if this number was surveyed and never higher before and to be trusted, of these HK$ Millionaires all want to be somewhere else becomes an unnecssary conclusion...




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