Commentary: Wealthy Chinese are Moving to Singapore

Wealthy Chinese are Moving to Singapore
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Wealthy Chinese are moving to Singapore in a bid to escape China’s rigid policies. As political tensions between China and Hong Kong reach a fever pitch and pandemic restrictions are lifted, many ultra-rich Chinese are increasingly moving their wealth to Singapore.

Disheartened by the situation back home, they see Singapore as a safe, stable haven for their wealth and a gateway to markets such as India that were previously hard to penetrate.

Why are Wealthy Chinese Moving to Singapore?

Three key reasons for Singapore’s attractiveness have been outlined by experts. 

Political Stability

Singapore’s political stability has been a draw for many wealthy Chinese seeking respite and financial security. Historically, Singapore has been politically neutral, positioning itself as a “friend to both East and West” and a supporter of the international system. Social stability, enforced through policies of harmony and diversity, has also provided relief from the independence protests that plague Hong Kong, traditionally the wealth hub of choice for Chinese business owners. Many also fit in culturally, given the large ethnically-Chinese population in the country. Encouraged by its political stability, the number of businesses and family offices in Singapore has jumped by the hundreds, with 500 Chinese businesses having registered in 2022 alone.

Transparent Frameworks

In addition, the robust compliance regime and pro-business environment in Singapore have translated into low corruption and economic stability. The country is home to numerous world-renowned compliance offices and proxy advisories such as International Shareholder Services Inc., while financial institutions such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) pride themselves on transparency, rigour and fairness. With clear, comprehensive regulations, a variety of accountability mechanisms and proper enforcement, more wealthy Chinese see Singapore as a safe space to park their wealth—without fearing that it will be jeopardised by corruption.

Availability of Professional Talent

Singapore is also home to many financial professionals in areas such as compliance, private equity, legal advisory and executive management. The country is therefore an excellent wealth management hub, well-equipped to handle high-finance activities such as the establishment of family offices, offshore funds, private equities and venture capital firms. In 2021 alone, Singapore’s assets-under-management (AUM) grew 16% to $5.4 trillion, many of which came from China. The network of consulting firms, startups and financial services in Singapore have grown into a self-sustaining financial ecosystem, boosting its appeal to many Chinese investors looking to manage their wealth elsewhere. This appeal is further amplified by the Global Investor Programme, which grants Permanent Residency status to eligible foreigners able to invest high amounts of money into Singapore-based firms. These new efforts have been bearing fruit, as net AUM inflows hit upwards of $400 billion in fiscal year 2021, a significant increase from the pre-pandemic era.

A Future in Singapore

Singapore’s political and economic stability and reputation for wealth management have drawn even more Chinese investors, businesses and entrepreneurs to the country in the past year due to the lifting of pandemic restrictions. These changes have been accompanied by developments such as increased job and business opportunities and the re-invigoration of innovation activity.

For many prospective investors, it is imperative that a fuller understanding of the changes in Singapore’s business and immigration landscapes be achieved.

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