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Exodus of wealthy Chinese accelerates with end of Covid zero

Since the end of Covid Zero in December, many rich Chinese have begun traveling overseas to check out real estate or firm up plans to emigrate, immigration consultants said in interviews.

January 26, 2023 / 09:08 AM IST
Representative image

Representative image

President Xi Jinping’s decision to dismantle Covid travel restrictions is accelerating an exodus by wealthy Chinese, who could fuel billions in capital outflows as they plow cash into property and assets abroad.

Since the end of Covid Zero in December, many rich Chinese have begun traveling overseas to check out real estate or firm up plans to emigrate, immigration consultants said in interviews. That’s threatening a brain drain in the world’s second-largest economy as well as outflows that could pressure its financial markets.

Over the past two years, Xi’s crackdown on a industries like technology, real estate and education, and his push for “common prosperity,” have spooked the rich, long accustomed to growing wealthier as long as they didn’t question the supremacy of the Communist Party. Advisers to the wealthy say those concerns have worsened since October when Xi cemented his political control at a twice-a-decade party congress.

Canadian immigration law firm Sobirovs is seeing a growing urgency from Chinese clients seeking to migrate to the North American country. “I would say the past six months people really got fed up. And so we see a spike on consultation bookings,” said Feruza Djamalova, a senior lawyer at Sobirovs. “Now our clients from China, they’re willing to do relocation and they want to as soon as possible.”