AUSTRALIA is one of the top holiday choices for China’s super-rich to relax, go sightseeing and shop.
For the second year in a row, Australia has ranked third behind France and the US as the most attractive destination for Chinese millionaires to holiday, according to a report by Shanghai-based private wealth researcher Rupert Hoogewerf.
His report also reveals that more than 12 per cent of Chinese millionaires own holiday houses in Australia.
”The Chinese luxury travel market is flourishing and shows promising signs of stable growth, with the number of Chinese outbound tourists set to reach 77 million, a staggering increase of 12 per cent year on year,” he says.
More than 60 per cent of China’s millionaires surveyed in the report named travel as their favourite leisure activity. Travel also accounts for close to a third of the millionaires’ average annual spending of $277,000, according to The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2012.
China has recently experienced explosive growth in the number of its millionaires. Mr Hoogewerf, a long-time chronicler of China’s emerging riches, estimates that China has at least 7500 yuan billionaires – or those holding at least $150 million in assets.
Mr Hoogewerf says his estimate of the number of known Chinese millionaires is likely to be an under-estimate. He believes that ”for every Chinese billionaire we identify, another two exist under the radar”.
If this is correct, it would add another 15,000 people to the ranks of China’s yuan billionaires.
The report also says China is home to more than 600 US dollar billionaires, of which 325 have hidden wealth.
China’s super-rich, especially the relatives and business associates of Communist Party officials, often hide their assets and incomes of dubious origins from public scrutiny.
Bloomberg revealed last week that the relatives of the Chinese Vice-President, Xi Jinping, have more than $US376 million in assets stashed away outside mainland China, which includes villas in Hong Kong.
Chinese travellers are big spenders as they jet around the globe. They take out the top spot in tax-free shopping, with watches and jewels their most favoured items.
Harry Winston, an international diamond retailer, said in April that strong increases in tourism from China and other emerging markets in Asia continued to fuel growth in demand for luxury products such as jewellery and timepieces.
They also liked to travel in style, he said. Most flew either business or first class and stayed at up-market hotels such as Shangri-La, Hilton and Ritz-Carlton.