An estimated 15,000 millionaires are planning to leave China with a fortune of $48 billion this year, and inquiries about how to transfer assets to other countries are growing rapidly.

Bloomberg cited seven bankers and immigration advisers, reporting that the number of questions about immigration during Shanghai’s lockdown has climbed three to five times compared to the previous year. The questions about how to transfer money out of the country have recently soared.

Sumi, an immigration consultant in Shanghai, said that clients who were hesitant about immigration because of the epidemic prevention and control measures, “now finally made up their minds.”

Li Yuanhua is a former associate professor at Beijing Normal University. He explained that the main reason is that people can’t see hope. In the past, they still stayed in Shanghai, because they were born there, their relatives and friends are there, and they can still make money there. Shanghai’s lockdown means that the economic order is randomly disrupted. This makes these people see no hope, and they can’t make money except for their own unrest.

In fact, many high-ranking officials and rich people in China have already moved their wives, children, and property abroad.

Li Yuanhua gave an example: Yang Jiechi, a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, has transferred his wife and daughter to Washington. He may know that they are not safe in China.

Lai Jianping is a master of international law from the China University of Political Science and Law. He said that the whole of China is like a dangerous wall that is about to collapse at any time. Anyone who can walk wants to leave the country as soon as possible.

Lai Jianping said that these people have completely lost hope in the communist regime through the dynamic zero-Covid policy. So they are ready to leave. But it is actually difficult for them to transfer their property to foreign countries. This door has now become more and more closed. In the future, it may not be easy to transfer property from the country even if it is 100% legal and legitimate.

According to several immigration lawyers, the processing time for passport applications has increased recently, but the information required has grown more onerous. 

Since the end of 2020, China has restricted citizens from leaving the country on the grounds of epidemic prevention and has tightened the approval of entry and exit documents. 

Moreover, each Chinese person has a quota of only $50,000 dollars per year for foreign currency purchases, making it difficult to transfer funds overseas.

However, bank executives told Bloomberg that inquiries about moving money out of China are multiplying.

Mr. Hu, a 46-year-old owner of a high-end restaurant in Shanghai, recently sold about 20 million yuan (about $2,960) of equity. He found an immigration lawyer and wealth management consultant, hoping to leave China.

He said that though Shanghai is the most developed city in China, when it started the lockdown, he almost starved to death. He was very sad. And he decided to go.

However, it has been more than a month since Mr. Hu submitted his visa and passport renewal applications, he has not received a reply so far.

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