The Chinese investment migration market is, by a wide margin, the world’s largest. Credible and conservative estimates put the number of Chinese nationals emigrating by way of investment at 25,000 a year, a number growing at a double-digit clip annually as virtually every Chinese family who can afford it wants to either send their children to school abroad, get a plan B or permanently relocate overseas. I’ll discuss the reasons for this mass exodus of Chinese HNWIs in more detail in the “Introduction to the Chinese Investment Migration Market” series but, for now, suffice it to say that it’s a market too big to ignore for an investment migration professional worth his salt.
Aside from being the biggest in absolute figures, the Chinese investment migration market is also among the most mature; wealthy Chinese have been investing to obtain residence permits/citizenships abroad for at least three decades already, which is why there are hundreds of conferences, summits and seminars staged every year in the country.
One thing to understand about the Chinese investment migration event scene is that most conferences have confusingly similar names, not only in English but also in Chinese. Presumably, this homogeneity in monikers stems from each organizer’s wish to make the events’ content readily apparent from the title. I suppose there are only so many names you can give this type of conference when they all need to somehow include the words immigration/migration, international/overseas and investment. And they can’t contain the phrase “Citizenship by Investment” either because the government expressly forbids dual citizenship and prospective agents/clients would be loath to appear at such gatherings lest they attract the wrong kind of attention.
You should also be aware of is that virtually all the conferences claim, with varying degrees of veracity, to be the largest and most influential in the country. Perhaps needless to say: don’t take their word for it.
With such a plethora of events – the websites of which have English versions that are, more often that not, indecipherably written – how can you, as the representative of an international residence and citizenship planning company, property developer or law firm separate the wheat from the chaff to determine which events are worth attending?
I’ve done the dirty work for you. I’ve been to dozens of investment migration conferences in China, and I can testify that while many are a waste of time, a handful have spectacular ROI. I’ve listed those below.
But, before you even begin looking, you should determine which type of conference you need to attend: B2B, B2C or a hybrid. If you’re reading this article in English, chances are that your company does not have direct clients in China, but rather that you have service and/or introducer agreements with Chinese companies, or that you are looking for that type of partner in China.
If that’s the case, you need to attend B2B events. This is not to say that B2C and hybrid conferences won’t have any value to you – they can be a convenient venue for networking with agents – but such events primarily target end users, and the agent will likely be preoccupied with talking to some of the thousands of prospective clients in attendance.
Without further ado, here are the five most important B2B Investment Migration Conferences in Mainland China
1 – International Migration Summit
Possibly the most weighty B2B conference for the investment migration industry in China, the IMS takes place twice a year in first-tier Chinese cities, usually either Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou or Shenzhen. Styled after large-scale international conferences, the IMS features a range of roundtable talks, presentations, workshops and cocktail receptions, all of which is translated in real-time.
Among the attendees and speakers, expect to find heads of state, the top brass of the world’s largest investment migration companies, developers and a slew of representatives from the NGO, banking, legal and fiduciary professions.
Shanghai plays host to this year’s first IMS conference in April, while the second takes place in Guangzhou in October.
If you can only attend one B2B event in China this year, let it be the IMS.
More information and tickets are available on the IMS’ official website.
2 – Investment & Immigration Industry Elite Convention
Another bi-annual event, the Investment & Immigration Industry Elite Convention may not take place in the same ritzy hotels as the IMS, nor will you find the same prominent figures in attendance, but if you’re hoping to meet Chinese immigration companies or to bedazzle prospective marketing agents with your development, this event offers outsized value for your money.
Smaller in scale than the IMS, the II Industry Elite Convention is nonetheless attended by hundreds of agents and developers, a handful of CIU heads, as well as a steady trickle of HNWIs curious to see what all the fuss is about.
II Strategies, the organizer, is staging both of this year’s conventions in May, one in Shenzhen and the other in Chengdu.
You may find more information and also register for the conventions on the official website.
3 – Juwai China Agent and Juwai Global Developer Summits
Through its online platform, Juwai (居外, short for “residence abroad”) is the single largest purveyor of international property to Chinese buyers. The Juwai group organizes a range of events throughout the year, of both the B2B and B2C types.
The Juwai group organizes a range of events throughout the year. While you’ll find a sprinkling of clients in attendance, the Global Developer Summit and the China Agent Summit fall firmly in the B2B category, bringing together Chinese intermediaries and foreign property developers.
While the agent and developer summits are not, strictly speaking, immigration conferences – their focus is international real estate – overseas property acquisition and migration nearly always go hand in hand for the Chinese. As such, agents in attendance are not only looking for new developments to market to their clients, but also companies that can help their clients gain permanent access to their properties.
Considering the conferences’ heavy focus on international property, these events are of limited value to those promoting an investment migration program without a real estate component but, by the same token, they can be instrumental to those that do have it, particularly EB-5, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain.
Please visit Juwai’s official website to learn more and to register.
4 – China Offshore Summit
Some 4-500 financial planners, family office representatives, tax advisors and lawyers of China’s HNWIs convene twice a year for this two-day event to discuss policy updates, tax and wealth planning strategies, and immigration alternatives. The summits give citizenship and residence planning companies direct access to the personal advisors of wealthy Chinese, many of whom are actively seeking migration solutions for their clients.
Asia Offshore Association have scheduled the 2017 series of summits for Shenzhen in May and Shanghai in October.
Learn more and register on the official website.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.