Health worries China's growing rich

17 September 2014

SHANGHAI: The number of millionaires and "super-rich" in China increased by about 4% in 2013, according to a new report which also detailed their health concerns and what they do to remedy them.

According to the Hurun Research Institute, the number of Chinese with a personal wealth of Rmb10m, or $1.6m, rose by 40,000 to 1.09m last year while the number of people worth Rmb100m, or $16m, increased by 2,500 to 67,000, CNBC reported.

However, more than half of these high net worth individuals (HNWIs) believe that lack of sleep and working overtime are their biggest health problems, leading to conditions like insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

These worries mean four-fifths (81%) exercise to keep fit and a similar proportion (80%) have an annual check-up, which 14% conduct every six months.

Three-quarters (75%) say they pay attention to what they eat, 60% do not smoke, and 40% claim that they don't drink alcohol, the report said.

Chinese HNWIs use both Chinese and Western medicine – vitamins are the most popular, at nearly 90%, followed by ginseng (56%), cod liver oil (45%), and gelatin (44%), while 37% are willing to go to foreign hospitals for treatment.

"There is a clear trend amongst the Chinese millionaire class towards exercise, eating more carefully and generally taking better care of their bodies," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of the Hurun Report.

Despite this healthy trend, the report also showed that nearly 60% of Chinese HNWIs work overtime, 40% stay up late and have eating disorders, while 40% drink excessively.

Elsewhere, the report estimated that the number of Chinese worth Rmb10m could reach 1.21m people over the next three years, while the super-rich may number 73,000.

Shanghai has the fastest growth, having created 12,000 millionaires in 2013, although Beijing and Guangdong have the highest number – at 192,000 and 180,000 respectively – followed by Shanghai with 159,000.

Almost half (47%) of these Chinese HNWIs say they plan to move abroad within the next five years, a separate report from Barclays Wealth has claimed.

Based on a survey of 2,000 wealthy individuals in 17 countries, Barclays Wealth said about 30% of its Chinese respondents named Hong Kong as their preferred destination, followed by Canada, the South China Morning Post reported.

Almost a quarter (23%) of Singaporean HNWIs plan to relocate within five years, the survey found, followed by one-fifth (20%) of British respondents. But only 6% of American HNWIs and 5% of their Indian counterparts intend to do the same.

Data sourced from Hurun Report, CNBC, South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff