Is Canada ready to become a playground — or a new home — for China's rich?
A new survey has found that half of China's millionaires are considering or planning to emigrate, and Canada is their second-most popular destination, after the U.S.
For the first time, Canada beat Britain for the number-two spot in the annual survey carried out by Hurun Report in association with Visas Consulting Group. Britain fell to third, and Australia remained the fourth-most popular choice.
The survey's results suggest Canada can expect to see Chinese money continue to pour into Canadian real estate, despite efforts by some provincial governments to cool the pace of foreign investment in housing.
Canadian cities also rose in the rankings of Chinese millionaires' top destinations. Vancouver is now the fifth most popular destination worldwide, while Toronto has moved into eighth spot. Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and New York, in that order, top the list.
Hurun Report surveyed 304 Chinese individuals with a net worth between US$1.5 million (C$1.9 million) and US$30 million (C$38 million).
Slightly less than half of the respondents said they are either considering emigrating from China or planning to do so. That's actually a lower percentage than in previous surveys, when some 60 per cent of Chinese millionaires indicated they want to leave China.
This year's results are "the lowest on record, but still not low," Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said in a statement.
"Education and pollution are driving China's rich to emigrate. If China can solve these issues, then the primary incentive to emigrate will have been taken away."Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report
The top reasons the wealthy cited for wanting to leave the country were for education (76 per cent) and living environment (64 per cent). Among those who want to relocate to a different Chinese city, pollution was also a major concern.
"Education and pollution are driving China's rich to emigrate. If China can solve these issues, then the primary incentive to emigrate will have been taken away," Hoogewerf said.
Eighty-four per cent of respondents also said they are concerned about the Chinese yuan losing value. The yuan fell to an eight-year low last fall, before recovering somewhat this year.