BEIJING (AP) (excerpts) — Chinese millionaire Su builds skyscrapers in Beijing and is one of the people powering China's economy on its path to becoming the world's biggest.
He sits at the top of a country — economy booming, influence spreading, military swelling — widely expected to dominate the 21st century.
Yet the property developer shares something surprising with many newly rich in China: he's looking forward to the day he can leave.
Su's reasons: He wants to protect his assets, he has to watch what he says in China and wants a second child, something against the law for many Chinese.
The millionaire spoke to The Associated Press on condition that only his surname was used because of fears of government reprisals that could damage his business.
China's richest are increasingly investing abroad to get a foreign passport, to make international business and travel easier but also to give them a way out of China.
The United States is the most popular destination for Chinese emigrants, with rich Chinese praising its education and healthcare systems. Last year, nearly 68,000 Chinese-born people became legal permanent residents of the U.S., seven percent of the total …
"In China, nothing belongs to you. Like buying a house. You buy it but it will belong to the country 70 years later," said Su, lamenting the government's land leasing system.
"But abroad, if you buy a house, it belongs to you forever," he said. "Both businessmen and government officials are like this. They worry about the security of their assets." ….
Getting a foreign passport is like "taking out an insurance policy," said Rupert Hoogewerf, who compiles the Hurun Rich List, China's version of the Forbes list.
"If there is political unrest or suddenly things change in China — because it's a big country, something could go wrong — they already have a passport to go overseas. It's an additional safety net."
Among the 20,000 Chinese with at least 100 million yuan ($15 million) in individual investment assets, 27 percent have already emigrated and 47 percent are considering it, according to a report by China Merchants Bank and U.S. consultants Bain & Co. published in April.
read … Top of Chinese wealthy's wish list? To leave China