Wealthy Chinese Investors May Bring Billions Into US & Canada
China’s economic slowdown and recent stock market turmoil may motivate more of its wealthy to invest overseas, specifically in US and Canada.
According to a survey by FT Confidential, 61 per cent of the rich Chinese surveyed in July indicated an interest in increasing their overseas holdings over the next two years. Almost half stated they plan to offshore more than 30 per cent of their fortunes. While the survey had a small sample size of only 77 people, its findings are in support of broader research on the subject.
The Hurun Report last year found that more than half of China’s wealthy plan to emigrate, or have already taken steps to move their families and fortunes overseas. And a study by WealthInsight found that the Chinese wealthy already have $658 billion invested overseas.
According to that intelligence firm, China’s roughly 1 million millionaires have amassed about $16 trillion in wealth. If even 1 percent of that sum finds its way to North America, that would equal $160 billion in Chinese inflows.
As per the FT study, 42 percent of the wealthy Chinese cited North America as the preferred destination for their cash. They indicated much of that investment would go into businesses, commercial investments, and financial products.
Brokers and real estate analysts estimate the inflow of billions of dollars in Chinese wealth into real estate in the coming year.
“Brokers are getting a lot of calls right now from Asian buyers,” said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “If you’re a wealthy investor in China, you don’t have many choices. You could put money into the Chinese housing market, but that’s a bubble. You could invest in the stock market, but that’s not transparent and it’s volatile. “
There are two other factors that may influence the decision to invest overseas—capital controls and inheritance taxes. As China relaxes its capital controls, it will become easier for wealthy Chinese to move money offshore and buy overseas real estate.
“It’s still in an embryonic phase,” said Liam Bailey, head of research at London-based real estate firm Knight Frank, about the wealth transfer from China. “Over time, this market will mature as the process of investing overseas becomes a little easier.”