In the ‘gay capital’ of Asia, Chinese LGBTQ+ emigres look to build a new life

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05/30/2024

 In 2019, business was booming for Owen Zhu. He was one year into his new career in real estate, showing Bangkok properties to Chinese investors. Then the pandemic halted travel and spending. Even now, Chinese buyers are slow to return. The exception has been one group that has since become Zhu’s specialty: LGBTQ+ clients looking to build a new life for themselves outside China. “Most of them are buying to live in or to retire in — not like many straight people or friends, who are prioritizing investments,” Zhu, 40, said. Before the pandemic, Zhu estimates, about one-fourth of his clients were LGBTQ+. Now they make up two-thirds of his customer base.

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