Rich people are leaving China in droves. Just ask the South China Morning Post: “Exodus of the super-rich: half of China’s millionaires plan to leave country within five years.” Or the Wall Street Journal: “Almost Half of Wealthy Chinese Want to Leave.” Or Bloomberg: “Almost Half of Rich Chinese Consider Move, Barclays Says.”
Seems convincing, no? Well, no, and I’ll do my best to show why by answering three simple questions.
First, how does Barclays know? The Barclays report, which I received this morning, is called “The Rise of the Global Citizen?” and is published as part of its Wealth Insights series (intended, presumably, to attract clients). For this edition, they interviewed 2000 high net word individuals “all of whom had more than $1.5 million in net worth,” and 200 with more than $15 million in net worth. They come from 17 countries, and 750 self-identify as entrepreneurs. Beyond that we know nothing, but I think it’s safe to assume – based on this information – that the sample taken was not representative of Chinese millionaires as a whole (the sample size would be too small). Rather, it’s representative of Chinese millionaires who don’t mind responding to surveys from investment bankers. Though I’d hate to generalize, in my experience wealth in China tends to be very discreet, and those who are willing to talk about it are unusual and typically have spent time abroad. Continue reading