Chinese wealth shifts to Dubai as business opportunities boom

    China’s high-net-worth individuals are relocating their businesses, wealth managers, and families to Dubai, thanks to pro-business policies and warming diplomatic relations.
    Photo: Shutterstock
      Published   in Macro

    What happened

    Asia’s richest families are racing toward the Middle East to grow their wealth and diversify their portfolios.

    Dubai, in particular, is emerging as a preferred center for Chinese wealth managers. Noah Holdings, a top Chinese wealth manager that oversees $23 billion in client assets, is set to receive a business license in Dubai by the end of the year, reports Reuters.

    Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Landmark Family Office is planning to set up an office in Dubai in the coming months.

    The trend comes as Dubai ramps up its efforts to cater to the world’s richest people, including launching a dedicated center for family wealth in March 2023. The center is designed to help high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and family businesses deal with digitalization, cultural issues, governance, and succession planning in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    The Jing Take

    While Hong Kong and Singapore have traditionally served as offshore wealth hubs for Asia’s HNWIs, Dubai is growing in importance. Beyond its appeal to wealth managers, millionaires and billionaires themselves are flocking to the city due to its supportive business environment, low tax rates, convenient location between Europe and Asia, and access to luxury facilities.

    Among these favorable policies, a golden visa system enables foreign talents to live and work in the UAE for five or 10 years. Additionally, “free zones,” which offer tax exemptions and full company ownership for foreign investors, along with low customs tariffs and no income tax, serve as significant pull factors for global entrepreneurs and investors.

    Dubai attracts Asia's millionaires and billionaires with its tax exemption policies, "golden visa," and luxury facilities. Photo: Shutterstock
    Dubai attracts Asia's millionaires and billionaires with its tax exemption policies, "golden visa," and luxury facilities. Photo: Shutterstock

    At the same time, friendly political and economic relations between China and the UAE have made Dubai a more stable destination for relocation, particularly against the backdrop of strained relations between China and the US. China is the UAE’s largest non-oil trading partner and its third-largest foreign investor, while the UAE is a key supporter of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and hosts more than 6,000 Chinese companies.

    According to Henley & Partners, Dubai is projected to witness a 78 percent surge in its centi-millionaire population over the next decade — the fastest growth rate worldwide. With China experiencing the world’s biggest outflow of millionaires, Dubai might just be the place they choose to call their second home.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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