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Escape From China: One Fifth Of Affluent Chinese Plan To Emigrate.

China is now experiencing its third wave of mass emigration since the Communist Party took over the country in 1949, experts say, and this generation of emigrants, unlike their predecessors, can be characterized as young, well-educated, and wealthy.

According to ( China's International Emigration Report (2012), jointly published by the Center for China & Globalization and the Beijing Institute of Technology School of Law, China is now experiencing a third wave of emigration, characterized by the emigrants' high education level and net worth.


"The most significant difference between the current group of emigration and previous emigrants is that the masses are now emigrating by investment," Wang Huiyao, the director of the Center for China & Globalization, said in an interview with ( China Youth , a Chinese newspaper focused on China's young people. "These emigrants are wealthy, highly-educated, and relatively young."

The first Chinese citizens to emigrate en masse left at the end of the 1970s, when China first rolled out its economic reforms, according to Wang. Many from China's coastal provinces emigrated illegally. The second wave came at the end of the 1980s, when the first generation of Chinese with advanced, often technical, degrees emigrated as skilled talent. Now, with the third wave of mass emigration, China's richest are taking their newly acquired wealth somewhere else. They will, or at least their destination countries hope, create work opportunities for natives by investing their wealth in businesses there.

According to the ( Chinese Affluent Class Wealth White Paper published by Forbes China, by the end of 2012, 10.26 million Chinese could be considered affluent, up from 7.94 million in 2010. Of this group, 2.6 percent have already emigrated, and 21.4 percent plan to do so. Significantly, when asked whether they want to send their kids to school outside China, 74.9 percent answered yes.

"Previously, most emigrants came from coastal regions. Fujian province, for example, even had whole villages that emigrated together," Zhang Yuehui, an immigration expert, said. "In Fujian, there might not be anyone willing to loan you money if you wanted to go to college, but if you want to illegally emigrate, many people will lend you money, because they can reasonably expect a higher return."

But now, the emigration fever has spread from coastal towns to large cities, and even to smaller cities at a slower pace.

Traditionally, Chinese emigrants aim for highly developed western countries. Countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with welcoming environments and open immigration policies, are especially popular.

"These countries are more welcoming towards talented, skilled immigrants," Wang said, despite many wanting to emigrate by investment. "Their policies are really meant to attract the best talent from China."

That is okay because wealthy Chinese investors may be flocking to smaller European countries instead. With the recent debt crisis, many smaller countries in Europe are now hoping to attract investors from abroad. Policies have been relaxed so that it is possible to immigrate to some of these countries just by purchasing a house.

Traditionally, Chinese abroad lived within Chinese communities. With considerable language and cultural barriers as well as less than ideal economic conditions, immigrants could not and were not willing to partake in their host countries' political and social life. Now, as recent emigrants' overall wealth and education level increases, and as the earliest emigrants settle into their host countries, ethnic Chinese are beginning to take a bigger, more active role in their communities, according to ( China Youth .
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 7, 2013
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