As Shanghai Lockdown Drags On, Rich People’s Willingness to Emigrate Surges

As Shanghai Lockdown Drags On, Rich People’s Willingness to Emigrate Surges

As Shanghai Lockdown Drags On, Rich People’s Willingness to Emigrate Surges

Recently, a Chinese word “潤” has become trending throughout China due to its phonetic similarity to the English word “run”. As such, the word has now been circulated to mean fleeing China, in a way that would not as easily be found out by government officials and other means of online surveillance.

The Financial Times reported that according to a dozen immigration consulting firms, the number of calls asking about immigration has increased dramatically since April. Searches on WeChat for the keyword "immigration" have risen nearly sevenfold. An agent at QWOS, a Shanghai-based immigration service company, said, "In the past few weeks, I've received too many inquiries to respond in time, and on April 16 alone I received more than 200 calls.” As Radio Free Asia reported on April 19, searches for "immigration" on online platforms such as WeChat and Baidu have skyrocketed, with searches for "requirements for moving to Canada" surging to a peak in the last week, up 2,846 percent from a year earlier. In particular, after the official announcement on April 3 that the government would "strictly adhere to social isolation", the overall search index for immigration rose 440% on that day, and traffic on related videos surged by 1455%.

It remains to be seen whether Shanghai, China's wealthiest, most developed and internationally connected city, will face the brain drain and corporate exodus of equal magnitude to Hong Kong, and consequently lose its status as an international business center.