Mainlanders, Hongkongers increasingly looking to work and buy homes in Beethoven's Vienna. But it is not easy to pull off

By Cheryl Arcibalcheryl.arcibal@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3027666/mainlanders-hongkongers-increasingly-looking-work-and-buy-homes-beethovens?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | September 26, 2019 10:38 AM SGT
Hongkongers and mainland Chinese are increasingly looking at working or buying a home in Vienna, rated as the world's best city to live in. But it's not easy to pull off: you need a job, or to make a US$3.1 million donation or US$8.8 million investment (buying a home doesn't count).
Despite the high bar to get to live in Austria's capital, whose residents have included Mozart and Beethoven, residential property agents say they are getting more inquiries from Hong Kong and mainland China.
"As Vienna is again the most livable city in the world, the inquiries from around the world have had an enormous uptick," said Richard Buxbaum, head of residential at property agency Otto Immobilien, an affiliate of consultancy Knight Frank.
Inquiries from Hongkongers about emigrating to Vienna have tripled this year, according to the Austrian Consulate.
Meanwhile, Chinese buyer interest in Austrian property doubled, though the increase is off a low base, according to portal Juwai.com.
But you cannot buy without a work permit or that big donation or business investment. And if you are thinking of renting out your home, the city has rent control, making for skimpy returns.
Ties between the mainland and Vienna have increased.
Last year, Hainan Airlines launched a twice a week non-stop flight between Shenzhen and Vienna.
Huawei also announced that it plans to open a smartphone store in Vienna, its first flagship store outside China, and aims to build Austria's 5G infrastructure. In May, state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China also opened a branch in the Austrian capital, a move to help it "play its role as a financial bridge and help Chinese enterprises better understand Austria and invest in key areas."
Foreigners are eligible for a 24-month residency if they are a highly-qualified worker, a worker in shortage professions, a graduate of Austrian universities, a self-employed worker or a start-up founder.
Austria does not officially...