China went through a transformative period when Covid hit them for the first time in early 2020. But situations escalated to an alarming state when Covid made a comeback once again in 2022, penetrating the residents of many big cities like Shanghai. Both ordinary and Chinese affluents started looking for a safe harbour to secure their wealth. They looked for countries to immigrate to for a safe and comfortable living and Singapore became their top choice.
In this article we will explore:
- What is driving Chinese citizens to immigrate to other countries?
- Why is Singapore the top priority for Chinese affluentials?
- Convenience and quick immigration process
- The stable economic condition of Singapore
- Many businesses are finding home in Singapore.
- No language barrier or culture gap
- Tax haven
- How can Chinese affluential navigate their wealth securely in Singapore?
- New rules for setting up family offices in Singapore
- What is the doable to moving to Singapore?
- How to smoothly transition to Singapore?
What is driving Chinese citizens to immigrate to other countries?
On 27 April 2022, China reported 14,222 new cases, the largest since late December 2019. Following this report, the country went into full lockdown. The Chinese regime declared the areas would have strict restrictions until a ‘societal zero’ is achieved.
Following the announcement, the search index for immigration saw an uptick of 440% on WeChat immediately. Video-related sources on Duke User behaviour data reflected that the word “immigration” exploded 400 times in search.
Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Beijing residents were on the top list of this search.
Why is Singapore the top priority for Chinese affluentials?
The ordinary people of China’s preferred the United States, Canada and Australia to migrate. However, the ultra-high net worths Chinese affluentials preference shifted from Europe and North America to Singapore. Some of the highlighted reasons for them to prioritise Singapore are:
Convenience and quick immigration process
The key motivation to choose Singapore as their ultimate country to settle down is their fear of sanctions in Western countries amid the current geopolitical tensions. Besides, Singapore has the shortest immigration application process, which allows them to immigrate from China as fast as possible.
The stable economic condition of Singapore
Being the world’s 4th largest financial centre in 2021, Singapore is politically stable. In addition, it has a mature legal system and a pro-business environment. With the arrival of foreign wealth in recent years, Singapore saw the biggest increase in housing prices in 2021. In more than a decade, the sales of luxury homes tripled year over year.
Singapore is now the world’s second-largest market for foreign real estate investors after the United States. Thus, Chinese affluentials feel it is a safe harbour to secure their wealth and expand their business and investment.
Many businesses are finding home in Singapore
Singapore became the prime location for many regional headquarters due to its easy business setup. My Hoyu and Yuzu Interactive of the gaming industry set up regional headquarters in Singapore. Xiang Tong and Luis Chong, co-founders of China’s leading private equity firm Boyu Capital, moved part of their company from Hong Kong to Singapore.
Boyu was founded by Alvin Jiang, the grandson of former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Jianzo Ming. The Wall Street Journal reported that Boyu Capital moved to Singapore in 2019. The transition was mainly driven by concerns over the weakening influence of the elder Jiang in the CCP’s internal political fight.
Then there are ventures like the Chinese gaming market who is struggling amid the government-controlled license approval policy in China. With Singapore’s flexible rules and business amenities, they find it easier to move their gaming business here to grow and expand.
As the CCP tightens, stringent regulations on cryptocurrencies also led Chinese crypto players to move their bases to Singapore.
Anticipating an upsurge of Chinese immigrants and businesses in Southeast Asia, Ant Group launched their wholly-owned digital wholesale bank, Annex, in Singapore. It caters to small, midsized and micro companies in Southeast Asia, particularly those with cross-border operations. This is the first major international move by Ant Group in 2 years since its failed $37 billion IPO.
In 2020, a Shanghai-based pharma company, Fosun Pharma, acquired a 60% state in the largest private cancer treatment centre in Singapore. Uncle Care Medical Falson established an office in Singapore back in 2015 to prepare for growth in the Southeast Asian market.
Other notable players that have established a presence in Singapore include Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent and ByteDance.
No language barrier or culture gap
A large portion of Singapore consists of Chinese-speaking people. Hence, there is no language barrier for Chinese citizens to settle down in Singapore. Additionally, they can enjoy Chinese culture and festivals as a lot of Singaporean citizens are Chinese.
Singapore does not have a wealth tax. Furthermore, it has lower corporate and personal income tax compared to many other countries. This gives Chinese affluentials the freedom to transfer their assets to Singapore without having their money lynched.
How can Chinese affluentials navigate their wealth securely in Singapore?
Family offices, a form of wealth management advisory firm in Singapore, enable ultra-high net worth, investors and their families to effectively transfer and secure their wealth in Singapore.
Family offices have become so popular among Singapore foreigners that the number of these establishments grew from only 27 to 453 from 2018 to 2021. Out of these 453 family offices, 63 of them are owned by Chinese affluentials.
A fine testament to the growing popularity of family offices among Chinese affluentials is depicted by a Chinese buyer. Originally from Fujian Province, he bought 20 units at Cannon Hill, Pierce, an upscale private housing development in Singapore. The total estimated value of his purchase was USD 62 million.
Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and James Dyson, the founder of UK electronic giant Dyson are also on the list of the wealthy affluentials owning a family office in Singapore.
The family office structure gives Chinese affluentials not to only harbour their hard-earned money in a safe location, but also to grow it by investing it in the many available profitable ventures of Singapore. They can buy multiple homes in Singapore anonymously using a trust to conceal their names.
New rules for setting up family offices in Singapore.
However, in light of the increased demand for family offices, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced stricter criteria effective this April 2022:
- Doubled initial fund deposits to set up family offices from USD 3.7 million to USD 7.3 million.
- Applicants are required to increase total funds to USD 15 million within 2 years.
- The family must hire at least 2 investment professionals for their family office.
- They must spend a minimum of $146,000 in business expenditures annually.
- Duty for foreign property buyers increased from 20% to 30%.
- Also, on 9 May 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Finance announced a 35% additional duty on trust real estate buyers who transfer properties to anonymous beneficiaries.
As more Chinese affluentials move to Singapore, they are changing the landscape of the country’s rich and famous. Of Singapore’s newly announced top 50 billionaires,8 of them, or 16%, are immigrant billionaires from China. The total wealth of these 8 billionaires account for 35% of the total wealth of the top 50 billionaires combined. 4 of the new immigrants from China are in the top ten list of Singapore’s ultra-high net worths.
What is the doable to moving to Singapore?
You may think moving to a new country seems easier to hear than actually doing it.
- You need to have sufficient knowledge to transfer and park your wealth safely from your home country to Singapore.
- You not only want to move to Singapore but grow your business here.
- You need a home in a good neighbourhood to give your family a comfortable lifestyle. You want to venture into new investments to grow your legacy for your upcoming generation.
It may sound overwhelming. But all you have to find is the right person with the right expertise who has done this before. I have helped clients with a one-stop solution that includes everything from visa processing to migrating to Singapore to settling down here and investing in assets which can generate profitable returns. If you are committed to moving to Singapore, click below to join my free consultancy hour.
Let’s have a one-on-one discussion on how I can help to smooth your transition to Singapore.