China's richest people are stepping up investment in US real estate and other foreign assets as they try to preserve their fortunes in the face of a fast-changing economy, a report said yesterday.
The report by China Merchants Bank and the consulting firm Bain & Co in China reflects uncertainties about abrupt shifts in an economy in which growth slowed last year to 7.8 per cent from the past decade's double-digit rates.
Beijing is trying to shift the basis of growth to domestic consumption and services, reducing reliance on exports and construction that made fortunes for earlier entrepreneurs. Communist leaders have pledged to use taxes and social spending to narrow the huge and politically sensitive gulf between China's small elite and its poor majority.
Investor attitudes are being influenced by "the political environment and possible changes in tax policy," said Chen Kunde, director of China Merchants' wealth management business. They are "switching their focus from deriving more profits to protecting their existing wealth".