Over the past decade, investment immigration has brought into Hong Kong $150 billion (US$19.3 billion). The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme allows people to live in Hong Kong and work toward permanent residence if they invest a certain amount of capital.
About 90 percent of the applicants are rich Mainland Chinese. One netizen predicts: “Only two kinds of people will remain in the country in the end—the arrogant rulers and the poor.”
Hong Kong immigrants include Ma Huateng, founder of Tencent Holdings Limited, which was recently valued at US$101 billion, and Jack Ma (Ma Yun), the founder of online retail service Alibaba, with an estimated value of between US$55 billion and over US$120 billion in March, doing more business in 2012 than Amazon.com and eBay combined.
There are rumors that the government will once again raise the investment threshold for admission to Hong Kong, causing the number of applicants this year to hit a record high.
The investment threshold was last raised in 2010 from the initial HK$6.5 million (US$838,400) to HK$10 million (US$1.29 million). The government will make further amendments later this year to adjust the scheme. It is speculated that the threshold might increase to between HK$13 million (US$1.68 million) and HK$15 million (US$1.93 million), and that a quota system might be adopted.
Jack Ma jumps ship
Jack Ma used to say: “I love China so much,” but his actions say otherwise. The founder of Alibaba recently told the media that he was likely to obtain permanent resident status in Hong Kong in two years, and that he hoped to spend his retirement there.
In the past, Ma has on many occasions expressed his support for the Chinese government, and even for the suppression of the “June 4” student movement. His decision to leave Mainland China has surprised many netizens. One netizen commented:
“Rich tycoon Li Jia Cheng is selling off his mainland properties, and Ma Yun is moving to Hong Kong. Many wealthy businessmen and high ranking officials are moving to other countries. Why? They’ve realized they cannot change the country, so they just escape to safer places. Only two kinds of people will remain in the country in the end—the arrogant rulers and the poor.”
Another netizen commented:
“People say that Hangzhou City is a heaven-like place. Even people like Ma Yun, who grew and prospered in Hangzhou, who said he loved this place so much, decided to leave Hangzhou. What led him to make this decision? Probably the political system, environmental issues, and the business climate are all factors.”
Another netizen remarked:
“Is he not a true ‘patriot?’ Does he not love the government so much? Then why is he leaving? Hong Kong people go on the street every year to mourn the ‘June 4 massacre,’ which seems exactly the contrary to what he believes?!”
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