At the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of China, Xi Jinping was re-elected as General Secretary of China for a third term.

Amid international concern about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) increasing concentration of power, China’s wealthy are also pessimistic about the future, and many families have activated their escape plans.

According to the Financial Times, immigration lawyer David Lesperance, who has worked with wealthy families in Hong Kong and mainland China, said Xi Jinping’s re-election to a third term is the turning point for China’s enterprise elite.

“Now that ‘the chairman’ is firmly in place . . . I have already received three ‘proceed’ instructions from various ultra-high net worth Chinese business families to execute their fire escape plans,” stated Lesperance.

In the months leading up to the 20th Party Congress, some speculated that Xi might face pressure within the party, asking him to abandon several controversial policies, including the Zero- COVID policy, support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and re-establish Communist Party control in the business world. However, Xi Jinping was re-elected as Politburo Standing Member and General Secretary without any suspense or worry. The members of the Politburo Standing Committee are all loyal supporters of Xi. According to The Epoch Times, this is seen as a sign that the CCP will continue to promote current policies.

Kia Meng Loh, a senior partner at Singapore-based law firm Dentons Rodyk, told the Financial Times that he had been commissioned for several months by several Chinese business families to set up a “family office” to manage their family’s assets.

“The clients I worked with last week have seen that (Xi Jinping) ‘s third term is a foregone conclusion,” Loh said.

He added that Hong Kong has long been a favorite destination for wealthy business people from mainland China, but its appeal has waned since Beijing increased its curbs on the area.

Business Times reports that the number of family offices in Singapore increased fivefold from 2017 to 2019 and nearly doubled from 400 offices at the end of 2020 to 700 a year later. 

According to Financial Times, Ryan Lin, Director of Singapore-based law firm Bayfront Law, said he was approached by five of the top 10 wealthiest families last Tuesday, wishing to set up a family office in Singapore, three of which are underway.

Ryan Lin, who set up about 30 family offices in Singapore last year, said most Chinese want to move to Singapore and take their money out of China.

David Lesperance said many of his clients had spent years preparing to leave China, such as legally transferring money overseas or sending their family members to a new residence outside China with a new citizenship.

China’s wealthy are not only worried about the CCP’s constant tax hikes but also increasingly concerned about their personal safety, David said. These concerns have been exacerbated by the temporary or prolonged disappearance of many prominent business figures from the public eye in recent years. At the same time, according to zhihu, the number of people with “exceptional talent” applying for a U.S. green card has increased because the program has a shorter processing time than the investment-based green card commonly used by the ultra-high net worth.

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