Britain has emerged as the most popular international location for pre-university education among wealthy Chinese families, in research that underlines London’s growing kudos as a destination for investment and schooling.
The Hurun Report, a closely watched annual survey of China’s entrepreneurs and investors, found that 29 per cent gave Britain as the ideal country for their children’s secondary education, followed by the US with 26 per cent.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report founder, said 80 per cent of wealthy Chinese wanted to send their children abroad for their education. “It’s a phenomenon of this generation,” he said at an event on Wednesday at Bank of China’s London arm beside the Bank of England.
The influx of Chinese in Britain’s education system would have spillover effects for the rest of the economy, he added. “These people will have two years in the UK at sixth form, followed by four years at university, followed very likely by a year or two of work experience. So they’re going to have a very personal relationship with Britain for the best part of 8 years.”
The report, which questioned 393 Chinese with wealth of ￡1m or more, found that 64 per cent were considering emigrating – though only 15 per cent of those would consider relinquishing their nationality. The US was the top destination cited, but Europe – which Mr Hoogewerf said for most meant London – had jumped to second place, from fifth last year.
Chinese buyers are also making inroads into London’s high-end property market. Mainland Chinese buyers accounted for 4.2 per cent of prime London sales in 2013, up from 2.2 per cent in 2012, according to new data from property agent Knight Frank. The figures put the Chinese fourth in the ranking of nationalities buying in London, after India, Russia and France.
Liam Bailey, global research head at Knight Frank, said the growth had taken place over the past three years. “It reflects the increasing economic presence of Chinese firms in London, with a confidence gathering pace that London is the key European city market.”