More than half of the millionaires in China have opted for alternative investments as the property and stock markets fared poorly last year, according to a report released Monday in Shanghai.
Although real estate and stocks were still the most preferred investment options for Chinese millionaires, 56 percent of them chose alternative investments such as art and wine, according to a report on China's alternative investments conducted by Hurun Report and the Industrial Bank Co.
Art, jewelry, fine wine and watches are the most popular alternative investments for millionaires in China, defined as individuals with assets of over 6 million yuan ($1 million) in the report.
"The continuing housing control policies and the stock market slump last year have pushed millionaires in China to look for new investment opportunities," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher.
The report was based on interviews with 1,219 millionaires in China last year.
China's stock market also remained lukewarm, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising by just 3.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
Alternative investments could bring satisfaction to investors that property and stocks could not, Hoogewerf noted.
"Buying more houses will not bring investors much emotional gratification. But investing in art, such as a painting by Wu Guanzhong (the late renowned Chinese painter), will bring more satisfaction to individuals and increase their social standing," he said.
But as alternative investments are still new in China and do not necessarily offer a good return, he advised investors to seek help from professional consultants.
China has become the world's leading art market. Total transactions in China's art market surged from 20.4 billion yuan in 2008 to 61.6 billion yuan in 2012, according to data from Chinese art website Artron.
He Ping, a retired millionaire in Shanghai, said he currently invests in bonds and stock futures. "I prefer investments that are less risky and have a more stable return," he told the Global Times Monday.