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What China’s wealthy want…


I spent the better part of my day today at a small conference attended by many of Shanghai’s wealthy, plus their lawyers and accountants.  Considering the subject material is highly frowned upon by the government, I was surprised that so many were in attendance.

So what was the topic of discussion at today’s event? Second citizenship.  Specifically, the St. Kitts second citizenship program.

Throughout the afternoon, local Chinese listened intently as speaker after speaker extolled the virtues of St. Kitts and its economic citizenship program. 

In case you haven’t heard of the program, it’s one of the oldest economic citizenship models still in existence.  An interested applicant must invest $350,000 (plus government and legal fees) in a government-approved real estate project, as well as undergo a background and medical examination.

If accepted, the applicant will be awarded with citizenship of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.  Since the island-nation is a Commonwealth country as a former British colony, St. Kitts citizens enjoy visa-free travel to the UK and European Union.

There were several developers at today’s conference with lots and homes for sale.  From what I could tell, the average price point was around $700,000.  The locals stared eagerly at the sales brochures, full of Caribbean Sea views and vibrant green tropics, which made for a stark contrast against today’s gray skies in Shanghai.

The St. Kittsians in attendance today were in demand because they can solve multiple problems for wealthy Chinese.

First, wealthy Chinese want to be able to travel internationally with ease, and this is something that is simply not possible with a Chinese passport– there are far too many visa requirements, and staying somewhere for more than a couple of weeks is problematic.  The St. Kitts economic citizenship program would provide an excellent passport for them and their family members.

Second, purchasing foreign property is an effective way to get money out of China because it cannot be forcibly repatriated.  Chinese are normally subject to extreme exchange controls with transfer limits of about $50,000, and moving money requires a litany of stamps and approvals.

Property purchases are slightly less cumbersome, and most buyers are able to more easily execute this by first sending the money to an account in Hong Kong, which has no exchange controls at all.

Third, and most importantly, Chinese want to be able to establish residency somewhere else, preferably in a place where they can send their children to school.  For Chinese families, this is the ultimate priority– to have a western educated child and a place for the family to live outside of China. They start planning these things from the day the child is born.

Overall, I am convinced that today’s event is indicative of an enormous trend.  Chinese clearly want additional travel freedoms and the ability to reside, even if temporarily, overseas. They have the money to pay for it.

Ironically, Chinese are not able to find the answers themselves… many websites that discuss second citizenship programs are blocked, so they need these live meetings to get a better understanding of the opportunity.

Meanwhile, foreign developers and lawyers really want access to the Chinese market.  Their traditional markets from the past several years– wealthy North Americans and Europeans– have dried up.  China represents the next growth market of people who have both the necessary appetite and available capital to acquire foreign property and/or second citizenship.

In my opinion, there is a fortune to be made for an entrepreneur who can match the buyers and sellers together. I think this is a very real opportunity, and I’d like to hear what you think… especially if someone is interested.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • alfonso landa

    I am a private investor residing in south florida. I would like to hear what you have in mind.

  • leonard h. frankel

    I am very interested . Any suggestions about how to go forward

  • Dennis A. Turnbull

    “A voyage to a destination, wherever it may be, is also a voyage into oneself!”
    Buon Giorno there Simon Black! The St. Kitts article is very interesting! I recently signed up to get the Sovereign Man. It has been great to read up a bit on you! I have been connected with Agora Financial, International Living and the Sovereign Society for many years. I am headed to Singapore and Manilla the end of this November! I want to live in Asia for an indefinite time! Any suggestions? I am first headed to Boracay in the Philippines. Asia is where it at and I think I want to make Singapore my home base. I love Singapore Airlines and especially the Singapore Airline Babes that look after me! I have evolved into a Permanent Traveler myself! Shanghai is at the top of my destination list and want to make it there in the next several months. I would very much like our paths to cross one day! I am 60 years old, retired, find your style quite appealing and quite worth of imitating!

    Be Well, Cheers and Ciao! Dennis

    • ronnie flormata

      HI DENNIS,
      MY EMAIL IS r.flormata@ph.fujitsu.com. thanks. keep in touch

      best regards,

  • JL

    Just a guess, but if large amounts of foreigners buy into this program that requires a 350K investment in an approved real estate project, I suspect that 350K is about as good as gone. First, this artificial supply of real estate will lead to an inevitable fall in prices of real estate built without true buyer demand. In addition as the project must be govt. approved there may be some hanky-panky involved in getting the approval. All things considered, it may still be worth the 350K to a Chinese citizen. but as usual, no free lunch here…

  • Allen

    Dear Simon,
    There are actually networks of “brokers” throughout China providing on the ground marketing with their clients being fed back to offices in Hong Kong and Macau.
    A close friend of mine is involved and is doing quite well in this business.

    • Hela Shamash

       Hi Allen. I have an interesting new opportunity in Saint Kitts that I am trying to help make brokers aware of – would love if you could send the name of your friend’s brokerage so that I can make sure they are on the list. Kind regards, Hela

  • David S. Brown

    This is good info for me and some others. Please give futher info. Thank you.

  • Denice Tindall

    I have been getting you Notes from The Field for a couple of months now. I accidently came across it while looking for inquiries about finding a retirment home in Mexico or S.A.

    I have an 80 acre farm in Central/Western Oklahoma right in the heart of oil country that I would be interested in selling. The mineral rights at this time bring in more than the yearly lease/rent. But as you know the price of land at this time is some what depressed. I did not really think about China as a prospect, but why not, if they have the money? I’m wanting to retire.

    I recently found an add in a local paper wanting to trade a home in Nicaruga valued at $250,000. for a home in Oklahoma which got me to thinking out side the box. The farm did not have a house to trade so that was not in the agreement, but got me to thinking ….Why try to sell the farm locally, when others are wanting to come to the U.S., especially if they have money.
    I just have no way of knowing how to advertise the property to an overseas market? Can you make any suggestions / reccommendations to me regarding that type information.
    The farm is approimately 65 miles from Oklahoma University and 70 miles from Oklahoma State University, and about 150 miles from Tulsa University. All of which are well know for their educational standing in Medical, Agricurtrual and technology and most recently in wind and energy technology as well as natural gas. And of course our local favorite T. Boon Pickens is promoting all of these.

    If you have the time to share information it would be appreciated but if not I will understand.
    Thank You,
    Denice Tindall

  • Richard R DeSipio

    Simon: Apparently the Chinese are not the only folks looking for a second citizenship or residencey and to move their funds out of the country. Here in the US there is a movement that continues and is growing. Next week I will be in Cabos, Mexico for a similar conference more toward moving invenstment funds, etc off-shore. Exchange constraints exist in USA, unless they are for property and insurance products in off shore accounts, under the watchful eyes of IRS. Anyway, the opportunity sounds challenging, exciting and rewarding for the right people. Thanks, R DeSipio

  • Joseph Jones

    Hello Mr. Black,

    After reviewing your article I have a few ideas in how to set up an exchange between the buyers and sellers. I feel it wouldnt be too overly difficult. You would set up a website that would be the “portal” for both the buyers and sellers to minimize the running around the clients would have to do. By the way I took a couple Manderin Chinese courses so I know some words. Let me know what you think.

  • Robert McGee

    A lot of Americans have the same desires but not the capital, especially Baby Boomers, and especially during the next few years as the earliest
    retire. The best, easiest, and quickest that I have found is Panama.

    • Lourdes Bogaerts

      Dear Mr. McGee,

      I’m happy you seem to like Panama. Why not? it is a great place; I’m from Panama, I should know. There are a few other options out there which would require less investment than St. Kitts, for example. In the Americas, you could consider Belize and Dominica; both English speaking countries. Truth be told, it can get boring to live on an island and medical services are limited.

      If you are not adamant about living in the Americas, you could also consider Malaysia. It is one of the safest places in the world. It is beautiful by nature, high class modern living in Kuala Lumpur (KL) Minimum investment is less than US$150 thousand. Tropical climate, like Panama. Top quality medical services, great air carriers and connections and really cheap to live. It’s location is wonderful to explore all of Asia, India, and the Middle East.

      Hong Kong is my home now, so if you wish, to find out a bit more about this, please write.

  • John

    Hi Simon,
    Yes, this is something I am working on setting up now. I have spent the last 20+ years working with exclusive yachts and resorts in the repair/maintenance/operation side of the business, and I see a very good opportunity here. I will be working to help the deleveraging formerly wealthy unload luxury assets to those who are newly wealthy and want them. The part of my knowledge that separates me from simple/regular brokers of such items is that I know the gears, nuts, and bolts of it, and will be able to help my clients avoid buying something with concealed wear/damage, or just poor quality to begin with. Many sellers will try to ‘polish a turd’ but thats not so easy to do when dealing with me.
    I see a very good chance to profit from either cherry picking the best, or going after bargains with a clear renovation plan, to get what the new wealthy client is looking for. Resort in the Caribbean? 180 foot motor yacht? No problem, I’m the Esoteric Engineer.
    Thanks for writing for us,

  • John

    By the way, the 50th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show just began today and runs until 5 pm Monday. Just a heads up to any curious Chinese or other Asians who might want to jump on a jet and come look… There’s over 3 BILLION dollars worth of boats and boat stuff on display. The biggest yacht sold last year went for around 80 million, I think. I was on a classic 126′ motor yacht this morning for a sea trial, just to see if the engine room renovations all worked as they should. They did, but this one isnt for sale. Plenty more are…. if you google it, you’ll probably find several aerial and other views of last years show.

  • Marat

    Very interesting idea ! But i would love to start myself first before I can offer services to Chinese :)
    BTW remember you said you were making a document regarding second citizenships around the world, but unfortunately havn’t heard anything since.

  • Bobby Casey

    I am a US entrepreneur currently living in northern Europe. I sold a company last year and am interested in new opportunities. This type of venture is something of interest to me. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Christine

    You are so right; it’s also exactly what is happening now in Cypress, Greece…. My friend and I were just talking about this today, except he is a developer in the Dominican Republic and wants me to head up is Marketing/Sales Program. I was telling him, my first market would be China and second would be Russia. I will definitely ask him about a dual citizenship program as that would make it a HOT selling item:)

  • Dave

    Hi Simon,

    I’m wondering why the market of wealthy North Americans and Europeans has dried up. From what I’ve read, more of them are considering expatriation than ever before. Could you please expand on that? Thanks.

  • stephen bailey


    read todays report.

    may be able to act as go between for buyers and sellers in china and st kitts.

  • B


    Yes, this is huge. I’m going to be based in Asia early next year and am looking into such opportunities. I’ve some ideas about how to market this effectively too. Drop me a line if you think there would be synergies in a combined, targeted approach.


  • Genie Goldilocks

    Very interesting, I would be interested.

    (not my real name)

  • http://several S. Rowan Wilson, MBA

    I’d LOVE to talk about helping bring more US citizens in and out of the states let alone Chinese to South America. We’ve been overdue for quite sometime for a talk but I haven’t been back to Asia since this past spring and will be in Montreal then Toronto end of November, home in Vegas until then.

    Do send me your contact information and let’s make plans to visit, phone or in-person.


  • pm

    very interesting post today… would love to learn more about this audience – please contact me

  • Tom

    Dear Simon
    Sounds like some money to be made if one avoids the Chinese fireing squad.
    Personally I would much prefer to see the Chinese and their money stay in China, for now and forever. Without manitory one child rules they would soon over populate the rest of the world just as they have China. There is too many of them in the west now.

  • Cfharles Lee

    I could be interested. I have been in Real Estate all of my adult life. I am now 66 and have recently had some heart trouble so have been sitting around a lot lately and came across your articles. They have been fun for me. Although not as robust as I once was perhaps I could be of some benefit to this idea. I have a very talented associate in Canada who is in a similiar health boat as I am and perhaps he could help as well. He has a major pedigree. PHd from Mit 4.0 all the way. and self made millionair to boot. I don’t have such a pedigree but my story is very interesting to most people. I will divulge it along the way as I know you better if that is to be. So will your idea work in either California or Nevada (my beat) or Canada (my friends beat) or lastly Baja, Mexico where I have done a fair amount of business. My friend is also wired well in Russia if that will help. Since I don’t know your idea this is about as far as I can go for now. I also have an associate who has gone to China a few times but he has been working on land deals and renewable energy. I don’t know him real well but he is around and likes to make money. Thanks for your writings I am living vicariously through them as I recuperate. If you think I could be of any help to your idea let me know.

  • Mark


    I have an interest in this, get in touch so we might brainstorm something together. I have 25 years of successful entrepreneurship. I am Moving to Panama in 60 days with wife from the states so I will be looking for another opportunity as I will have time to invest.

    Kindest Regards,

  • Me

    Simon, Matt

    Very interesting. I’ve been working on a setup albeit in the opposite direction…namely westerners looking to spend time and in certain instances expatriate to Asia and or simply invest etc. What you have brought up has been completely of my radar. It shouldn’t have been, sometimes we live with blinkers on!!!

    My own stupidity is all I can put it down to. It is so naturally obvious once stated. I’ve traveled the area and what you state has just hit me between the eyes. The possibilities are swimming around my little brain at present.

    Thank you for turning the light on and providing me with a “duh” moment.

  • John Munn

    Interesting situation, but not new! We have been doing that for years. First in Illinois, & recently in Florida. Albeit mostly From US Citizens & some Europeans. The obvious opportunity is Chinese investment in the US properties that are very underpriced. It reminds me of the Japanese that came to the US and bought real estate at great prices when we were in a recession. Today,in the USA, there is a tremendous opportunity in prime real estate for the well qualified buyer. The Chinese are realizing what prosperity has brought and they want to complete the play. The USA has great private schools & colleges that would welcome their presence.We respect the tenacity & intelligence of the Chinese and most Asian communities that are presently in the USA. I would be very happy to accomodate chinese buyers to purchase properties particularly in Florida. We have Developed in N.East Florida & some in S.West Florida(Naplkes).I believe that with the proper intro, buyer & seller/builder, that anything can be achieved. The most important element is “TRUST”! Please feel free to continue this theme with us. We need to keep this ship afloat! Thanks for the opportunity. If these things do not happen soon, many of us will go to another country(this hemisphere) where there is opportunity. Thanks for your letter!! JM

    • Rick G

      What exactly do you do? I am in SE Iowa and have been a broker for 35 years and an appraiser for 17 years. I am 53 and want to get out of high tax, freezing Iowa. Low tax, warmer FL would be good. Are there any opportunities with your company. I have been self employed all my life and am willing to take a risk.
      Thanks, Rick

  • Paul Travis

    I’m interested if you have more information. Thanks, Paul

  • Al

    Very interesting re China ‘wants’. This is what I do. I am currently in Hong Kong until Sunday. Sorry, but this discussion can only be face to face. I am sure you understand. Please contact me next time you are in Manila, where I live. I am accredited for the Special Retirement Visa (SRRV) of the Philippines (Generals Aglipay/Lingat). This results in permanent Residency plus the movement of $ into property investments. I am recently retired from Fedex. 15 years in the Phils. Yes, I have been following your writings…
    I look forward to meeting you.
    Capt. Allen H., Ph.D., G.G.

  • Andrew

    I wrote to you recently regarding Brazilian Real, I also mentioned that I have knowledge of how to create wealth from property with a specific set of rules. I have the proof in that I have personally gone from around A$25k to in excess of A$7m in just 11 years. Now I think that if we can discuss this in more detail there may be an opportunity to promote something whereby we, and many of your clientèle, plus many Chinese people, can gain enormously from my knowledge. Regards Andrew

    • http://SovereignMan Barthalomew

      Andrew – sounds intriguing. Can you share if your idea works for US citizens, please? If so, can you share how we can find out more about this, please?
      Thank you.

  • James

    The People of St Kitts will regret letting them in.

    I live in New Zealand and it seems pretty easy for Asians to move here. 20% of the largest city’s population is now Asian after just 10 years. Our govt set up offices in China to get migrants. A Chinese passport was no barrier to them at all.

    I (and many others) wish they would all go back home. If they could take all the annoying Indians with them too, that would be nice.

    • Lionel Li

      Guess I missed you when I was visiting New Zealand…then again I had a Maple Leaf Flag on my backpack so maybe you couldn’t bring yourself to say that to a Canadian, even a Chinese-looking one at that.

  • David MacGregor

    Simon, that’s a great idea and potential opportunity. I have been to China several times and have a good personal contact there who is itching for an opportunity to break out. My own business is dealing with potential expats of the “european” variety – so together we could make a team. I’d be interested to know more about this and how to make it fly. David

  • Kyle

    Great article Simon! I think ideally it would be great if these Real Estate companies from St. Kitts and Nevis and other places could put together investment seminars in Hong Kong. It would make purchases move much faster and smoother if you have the buyers and sellers right there in Hong Kong along with representatives from major Hong Kong banks. Just a thought. Keep up the great work!

  • Jai

    When a goodly percentage of a nation’s wealthy are desperate to depart, one has to debate the merits of investing there. When that country is supposedly one of the world’s “up & comers,” such a debate takes on more urgency. Look at all the wealthy and/or well-educated Indians and Chinese eager to flee their countries and get jobs in the terminally-ill US, or stash their cash in US or anywhere at all.

    Making money off those desirous of departure may be a lucrative marketing exercise. But what does it say about the investment climates of those countries being so eagerly abandoned?

    • Roy

      One of the reasons that some wealthy Chinese are looking to leave China is due to the way many of them obtained their money. They are actually escaping so they don’t go to prison or worse. This is amazingly common here in China and it just pisses me off something fierce.

      Starting a housing project with investors money is a common scam, the developer gets far enough into the project that he can get his hands on the rest of the funds, then he leaves the project abandoned and skips the country. There is a huge development across the street in this condition. The city actually hired another developer to finish the project and used government money, the developer is living happily in Panama.

      This problem became so acute in Hainan province that the government demands all projects be fully paid for and completed before any funds are released from the bank. Of course this has nearly stopped development and what there is is very expensive but it is probably better than all of the unfinished skeletons across the skyline.

      Take a look at your wealthy Chinese neighbor, he has probably left hundreds of people homeless to pay for his new estate.

  • Me


    That is “interesting” what you say about the Chinese and Indians in NZ. I live in NZ for part of the year and must admit that I and others don’t feel this way at all. In fact I think that NZ has benefited enormously from this Asian influence.

    New Zealanders are very parochial and even jingoistic at times, especially those in the SI which would explain the more western population breakdown there, however the influx of Asians has for the most part increased the level of the gene pool here.

    Even if you don’t like Asians etc, my take is that you may as well get used to trends in motion. The fact is NZ has a huge debt problem and demographic problem, one that will by necessity mean importing young people. The only young countries in the world are Africa and Asia….take your pick.

    Full disclosure. I don’t view people by nationality but by their economic contributions. Nationalism, Patriotism and the like are anathema to me.

    • http://rauschenbach.us Möpsi

      I went to school in an affluent part of Los Angeles in the 80’s, at the start of the Asian influx. When I was 8-10 years old, I had 2-3 Asians per classroom, and 20 years later they were 20% of the student population. My best friends were the Asians, and they were the smartest and most pleasant to be around. They raised the bar for everyone.

  • David MacGregor

    Simon, another question. Given that Chinese are only allowed one passport, does participating in this programme mean they are voluntarily giving up their Chinese passport in favour of the St Kitts & Nevis one?

  • Lourdes Bogaerts

    Dear Simon,
    Great blog and good comments about second citizenships, passports, alternate residencies, and similar.

    I like your fresh approach to things, I agree wholeheartedly with your discussions. I know you only answer those who pay for your consultation in advance and you are right to do so; if you didn’t you’d be flooded with questions from those seeking free information.

    When you get a chance, check out my website. I think we could collaborate.


  • matteo

    Hi, very interesting article. I too am interested in receiving your list of countries that offer second citizenship. In addition, what is the name of the conference you attended in Shanghai?


  • Roy

    I am a 62 year old retired Navy man living in China now for 8 years running a branch facility for an American company. I am married to a Very smart Chinese lady and have developed close relationships with local officials so business is smooth. We are open to helping other companies and individuals establish themselves here in China and have already done so. We have seen the results of foreign companies forming joint ventures with the Chinese, it is not a happy scene. We can make it happen and make it work.

    • Anthony


      Would you mind contacting me? I’d like to hear what type of services you and your wife offer to entrepreneurs looking to do business there.

      Thank you,
      Anthony E. Russell

    • http://www.elroseproperties.com/ Propertylocate

       Hi Roy,

      I’m looking to help the Chinese find homes fro education purpose.  I’m looking to come to China in Sept, please email on propertylocate@gmail:disqus

      Kind Regards


  • fred

    Would this Chinese appetite for the West include Japan? or is that a little too close to home for them to be interested in?

  • Vash

    I am very interested in finding out more about this opportunity. Having carried a Trinidad and Tobago passport a long time ago. I now carry a USA one. This would be a great opportunity for me and I am very motivated to follow through. Please contact me and I would be happy to give a lot more information. I am also looking for information on other business opportunity in China as I would like to move there so my son can learn Mandarin.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind Regards

  • The matcher…

    Simon please contact me via email ASAP in regards to this.


  • Aceydayce

    What if the rest of the world wakes up to this mass exodus from China and says NO ?

  • Marktully

    Hi Simon, please contact me by email,we have lots of very wealthy Chinese clients!! Mark

    • Hela Shamash

      Mark I have a very interesting opportunity in Saint Kitts that I hope to make the right people aware of- where are you based and How might I contact you?

  • Shayan

    Simon, I have an uncle who sells private jets to the billionaires of China. His network, without a doubt, has many wealthy Chinese people that can be matched with sellers. My email address is, shayan.hak@utoronto.ca. I would like you to get in touch with me, so we can talk further. Thanks.

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