Disillusioned at home, super-rich Chinese set their sights on Singapore

Disillusioned at home, super-rich Chinese set their sights on Singapore

SINGAPORE, Jan 31, (Reuters) – Like many wealthy Chinese, graduate scholar Zayn Zhang thinks Singapore may very well be very best to park his household’s wealth.

He’s hoping that finding out at a college within the Asian monetary hub will result in everlasting residency and whereas the 26-year-old hits the books, his spouse is out on the lookout for a S$5-7 million ($4-5 million) penthouse.

“Singapore is nice. It is steady and affords a variety of funding alternatives,” Zhang advised Reuters at a enterprise and philanthropy discussion board right here late final 12 months. His household would possibly set up a Singapore household workplace to handle its wealth sooner or later, he added.

Hosting discussions on matters like household wealth and sustainable investing, the discussion board at Singapore’s Shangri-La lodge was attended by tons of of rich folks, many bedecked in designer gear from Hermes belt buckles to monogrammed Gucci shawls and the most recent Dior baggage. Several Chinese attendees stated they’d just lately relocated to Singapore or had been considering of doing so.

With its tax-friendly regime and seen as politically steady, Singapore has lengthy been a haven for ultra-rich foreigners.

But it has seen a recent inflow of wealth since 2021 after it grew to become one of many first Asian cities to considerably ease pandemic restrictions and as many Chinese grew to become disillusioned with their nation’s draconian COVID insurance policies.

That disenchantment propelled Zhang, who gained Hong Kong residency in 2021, to look at Singapore.

“We simply misplaced persistence over time,” he stated, describing the prolonged quarantines he needed to endure when travelling between Hong Kong and mainland China. Political turmoil in Hong Kong has additionally been disheartening, he added.


Singapore’s variety of household workplaces – which deal with investments, taxation, wealth switch and different monetary issues for the tremendous wealthy – surged to about 700 in 2021 from 400.

Well-known Singapore household workplaces embrace these set up by James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame, hedge fund supervisor Ray Dalio and Zhang Yong, founding father of China’s Haidilao hotpot restaurant chain.

Though more energizing statistics aren’t out there, these concerned within the trade stated curiosity in household workplaces picked up in 2022 and is predicted to proceed unabated this 12 months. China’s abandonment of zero-COVID insurance policies is just not anticipated to vary the pattern, given concern among the many nation’s wealthy about President Xi Jinping’s frequent prosperity drive that goals to scale back inequality, they added.

Chung Ting Fai, a lawyer who helps set up household workplaces, stated in late 2022, he had one enquiry every week from individuals who wish to transfer at least $20 million into Singapore. That’s up from about an enquiry a month in 2021, whereas in January this 12 months, he acquired two enquiries every week.

Many are dad and mom trying to acquire everlasting residency for their youngsters, he stated, noting enquiries additionally got here from Japanese and Malaysian potential shoppers along with Chinese.

Part of Singapore’s attraction for the wealthy is its government-administered international investor programme below which individuals who make investments at least S$2.5 million in a enterprise, a fund or a household workplace can apply for everlasting residency.

Grace Tang, government director at Phillip Private Equity which operates one in every of two international investor programme funds in Singapore, stated her new 12 months has been crammed with conferences with potential buyers, most of them Chinese.

While some are establishing household workplaces, others are establishing enterprise headquarters in Singapore or investing in funds domiciled in Singapore, she stated.


Singapore’s belongings below administration grew 16% to S$5.4 trillion in 2021 – the most recent 12 months for which knowledge is on the market. More than three-quarters of that originated outdoors Singapore, with just below a 3rd coming from different Asia-Pacific nations.

Reuters Graphics

The inflow of wealth is a part of a wider pattern of individuals returning to Singapore after an exodus of ex-patriates through the pandemic. Last 12 months, the town had 30,000 extra everlasting residents and 97,000 extra foreigners on a piece or different long-term visa, boosting its inhabitants to five.64 million.

Singapore’s new additions despatched rents surging 21% within the first 9 months of final 12 months. Home costs have additionally jumped over the previous two years with mainland Chinese patrons persevering with to be the highest overseas patrons of pricey personal properties.

Another telling signal of how personal wealth is flowing in is skyrocketing golf membership memberships. The value of membership to Singapore’s prestigious Sentosa Golf Club has hit S$880,000 for foreigners, greater than double 2019 ranges, based on membership membership brokerage Singolf Services.

Desmond Teo, Asia Pacific household enterprise chief at consulting agency EY stated the inflows of cash assist Singapore’s monetary companies sector and startups, making a “wealthy ecosystem” that makes the nation extra engaging to new stakeholders.

“When you hit a sure important mass, the important mass itself is an attraction,” he stated.

($1 = 1.3110 Singapore {dollars})

Reporting by Xinghui Kok and Chen Lin, Additional reporting by Rae Wee; Editing by Kay Johnson and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.