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Wealthy individuals 'see education as asset'

By XIE YU and YU RAN in Shanghai (China Daily)

08:30, July 04, 2013

China will have the world's fastest growth rate for high net worth individuals, or HNWIs, who are turning to education-led consumption rather than showing off, a report from Julius Baer Group Ltd indicates.

China will have almost 1.4 million HNWIs, representing a wealth stock of $8.7 trillion, the Swiss private banking group said.

"More HNWIs will emerge in the next few years, supported by China's big economy and stable renminbi exchange rate, despite a possible slowdown in the economic growth rate," said Stefan Hofer, emerging market economist and lead author of the report.

The report noted that the cost of a tertiary education, especially at prestigious institutions, is rising faster than any other luxury item. However, it said, rich Chinese parents are most willing to spend on it.

"Chinese parents care about the next generation, and they want them to develop extensive connections with the world," said Kaven Leung, CEO North Asia of Julius Baer.

Zhuang Xiaoquan, a book retailer in Hangzhou, who last year sent his daughter to a girls-only independent boarding school in the United Kingdom, cannot agree more.

"I think the expense of an education for my daughter is a long-term investment and will eventually yield returns when she is able to find a job she is really interested in and good at," he said.

Tuition for the boarding school is almost 10,000 pounds ($15,190) a term, including accommodation, and the cost goes up every year.

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