SINGAPORE — Bloomberg reported on Friday (16 Dec) that the cost for an expatriate to join the 36-hole Sentosa Golf Club has more than doubled since the end of 2019 to S$840,000.
For citizens and PRs, the membership price has surged to as much as S$500,000.
“Prime real estate has never been more expensive, luxury-car sales are higher than ever and country clubs are thriving (in Singapore),” reported Bloomberg. It said that rich mainland Chinese are settling in Singapore.
The Sentosa Golf Club membership price in Singapore has been quietly moving upwards since the start of the pandemic in 2020, primarily driven by mainland Chinese. “Many mainland Chinese also live near Sentosa,” noted the owner of Singolf Services and a broker of memberships.
“These are the ultra-rich Chinese, for them it could be a small sum,” said Lip Ooi, an instructor at the public Marina Bay Golf Course.
And, of course, S$100,000 for a piece of COE paper to buy a car is an even smaller sum for these rich Chinese.
EDB courting rich foreigners to set up family offices in Singapore
The government has been actively courting high net-worth foreigners to set up family offices in Singapore. Mainland Chinese are by far the biggest factor behind a near doubling of family offices to about 700 at the end of 2021.
Previously, the super-rich used Singapore as a business base. Now, many Chinese families are opting to live there as well.
“We see a huge demand that we didn’t see before the pandemic,” said a manager of Active Golf Services. “They need to buy a membership because they intend to stay in Singapore for very long.”
The family office program is run by the Economic Development Board (EDB):
According to EDB, key professional advisors of family offices with specialised skill sets may also apply for an Employment Pass (EP) to work in family offices in Singapore.
Eligible family principals who intend to drive their businesses and investment growth from Singapore can further apply for the Singapore PR status through the Global Investor Programme (GIP) to spearhead the setup and operationalisation of their family offices in Singapore.
And to start a family office, the minimum starting commitment of asset under management (AUM) is only S$10 million, with a further commitment to increase to S$20 million within the next two years.