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Asia's wealthy want their kids to study abroad: report

Wednesday, 06 May 2015

Wealthy people in Asia are investing more in their children's education, with those in China favoring having their children study overseas with other students of the same social status, according to Shanghai's China Business News.

Lee Woon Shiu, managing director and head of Wealth Planning, Trusts & Insurance at the Bank of Singapore, said high net-worth individuals often hope their children can have a more international outlook and the first step is to send them to an international school.

To educate a child for 13 years at an international school that covers both primary and high-school education in Hong Kong, parents need to pay over HK$2 million (US$260,000) in tuition, the paper said.

There are also other fees, such as a capital levy and the cost of other activities, the newspaper added.

Lee added that many parents also emphasize education in areas outside basic school subjects, such as music, theater and dance, and private banks usually arrange events for their customers and their children to interact with artists.

A more recent trend taking place among the rich in Asia, the newspaper said, is making big donation to schools. Chinese property developers Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin donated US$100 million to Yale University, while Chinese-Australian Kingold Group chair Zhou Zerong gave AU$25 million (US$19.6 million) to the University of Technology Sydney.

Lee said the donations may not have been made specifically to pave the way for the donors' children to be accepted by the schools, but it will certainly help with future applications.

Asian parents are also eager to see the school for themselves. In a 2014 survey on why wealthy individuals travel abroad, the fourth most commonly cited purpose, at 12%, was to check schools for their children, ahead of going abroad to check on investments or immigration opportunities.

As a result, private banks also arrange such trips for their clients, summer camps for their children, or meetings with heads of recruitment at prominent schools, the newspaper said.

High net-worth people in Asia, Lee said, also pay great attention to whom their children study with, preferring that their classmates come from the same social circles.

Parents often choose a school for their children based on such factors as the percentage of graduates accepted by Ivy League schools and the backgrounds of the students' parents, Lee added.

The education survey of the wealthy conducted by the Hurun Report also found that 80% of respondents in China planned to send their children to study abroad, the highest percentage in the world.

Some 19.4% of respondents said they would invest in a foreign country for their children's education, the second most popular reason for investing abroad, according to the Hurun Report survey.

Source: Want China Times

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