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

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

He is 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 in search of a S$5-7 million ($4-5 million) penthouse.

“Singapore is nice. It’s steady and presents a whole lot of funding alternatives,” Zhang informed Reuters at a enterprise and philanthropy discussion board right here late final yr. His household may set up a Singapore household workplace to handle its wealth sooner or later, he added.

Internet hosting discussions on matters like household wealth and sustainable investing, the discussion board at Singapore’s Shangri-La resort was attended by lots of of rich individuals, many bedecked in designer gear from Hermes belt buckles to monogrammed Gucci shawls and the newest Dior luggage. A number of Chinese language attendees stated they’d not too long ago relocated to Singapore or have been pondering of doing so.

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

However 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 language grew to become disillusioned with their nation’s draconian COVID insurance policies.

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

“We simply misplaced endurance 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 places of work – which deal with investments, taxation, wealth switch and different monetary issues for the tremendous wealthy – surged to about 700 in 2021 from 400.

Properly-known Singapore household places of work embody these arrange by James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame, hedge fund supervisor Ray Dalio and Zhang Yong, founding father of China’s Haidilao hotpot restaurant chain.

Although more energizing statistics usually are not accessible, these concerned within the trade stated curiosity in household places of work picked up in 2022 and is anticipated to proceed unabated this yr. China’s abandonment of zero-COVID insurance policies is just not anticipated to alter the pattern, given concern among the many nation’s wealthy about President Xi Jinping’s widespread prosperity drive that goals to scale back inequality, they added.

Chung Ting Fai, a lawyer who helps arrange household places of work, stated in late 2022, he had one enquiry every week from individuals who need to transfer no less than $20 million into Singapore. That is up from about an enquiry a month in 2021, whereas in January this yr, he acquired two enquiries every week.

Many are mother and father seeking to receive everlasting residency for his or her youngsters, he stated, noting enquiries additionally got here from Japanese and Malaysian potential shoppers along with Chinese language.

A part of Singapore’s attraction for the wealthy is its government-administered world investor programme below which individuals who make investments no less than S$2.5 million in a enterprise, a fund or a household workplace can apply for everlasting residency.

Grace Tang, govt director at Phillip Personal Fairness which operates one in every of two world investor programme funds in Singapore, stated her new yr has been stuffed with conferences with potential traders, most of them Chinese language.

Whereas some are establishing household places of work, others are establishing enterprise headquarters in Singapore or investing in funds domiciled in Singapore, she stated.


Singapore’s property below administration grew 16% to S$5.4 trillion in 2021 – the newest yr for which information is offered. Greater 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 throughout the pandemic. Final yr, 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 yr. Dwelling costs have additionally jumped over the previous two years with mainland Chinese language consumers persevering with to be the highest international consumers of high-priced non-public properties.

One other telling signal of how non-public wealth is flowing in is skyrocketing golf membership memberships. The price of membership to Singapore’s prestigious Sentosa Golf Membership has hit S$880,000 for foreigners, greater than double 2019 ranges, in line with membership membership brokerage Singolf Companies.

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.

“While 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, Further reporting by Rae Wee; Modifying by Kay Johnson and Edwina Gibbs

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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