“At some point something will happen, and they say to themselves, ‘I have to go now.’ “
Zhong decided he would retire in Australia after a health scare a few years back, when he discovered how difficult it is to get an appointment with a specialist at the top Beijing hospitals.
“I had to send an assistant at 4 a.m. to stand in line so I could get in,” said Zhong, who has an Australian passport, having studied business in Melbourne in the 1980s and travels frequently back and forth. “In Melbourne, I just telephone the doctor and get an appointment.”
Wang, the Shandong businessman, said the deciding factor for him has been corruption in the business world. “I have to give out gifts, cash, gift certificates. If I don’t give, business won’t happen. I’m tired of that.”
Tony Du, 33, a consultant at Xinhaowei, says he, like most of his clients, worries most about education. He has secured permanent residency in Canada, thanks to having studied in Paris and speaking fluent French, a prerequisite for a program sponsored by Quebec province.
“My daughter is only 11/2 now, but in five or six years we will move for her education,” Du said.
For the rich Chinese craving an American lifestyle, the way to go is the EB-5 visa. In September, the program was extended for three years. In fiscal 2011, Chinese made up three-quarters of the applicants. The successful applicants don’t need to speak English or have particular business expertise, just the cash. Consulting firms in China put together investment vehicles.
“I like agricultural projects, manufacturing. Real estate and hotels used to be popular, but they’re too risky,” Du said.
The big disadvantage of the U.S. program from the standpoint of Chinese investors, said Du, is that their immigration status is contingent on the business succeeding. “If the business fails, you lose your green card too.”