By Michael Evans
One third of China's wealthiest have emigrated, while half are considering or planning to move abroad, according to a survey released this week by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
The vast majority are "investment immigrants," taking advantage of programs such as the US' EB5 visa, available to those who invest more than $1 million and create at least ten jobs in the US, or $500,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area.
From 2007 to 2011, Chinese applications for EB5 visas have increased by 1000percent, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.
"Their departure will be a great loss for China," Wang Huiyao, one of the report's authors, told the Shanghai Daily, describing the exodus as "a great loss of talent." Xinhua said continued emigration was likely "to bring losses to the country in terms of assets and talents and complicate the development of its substantial economy."
The CASS survey suggests that those leaving China with an eye towards the future, as "better education for children" and "better pension" top the list of reasons for emigrating.
Cui Yu, a 31-year-old mother interviewed by the China Daily, said: "I have discussed the plan with my husband and we have reached the conclusion that if we want to provide a better education and living environment with more career choices for our children, immigration is the best solution." Previous studies by other groups this year have offered similar statistics showing that half - or more - of China's millionaires are considering or trying to emigrate. These studies list concerns over pollution, corruption, and political instability as other factors giving China's rich second thoughts about staying home.