This time last year, Shi Kang considered himself a happy man.
Writing 15 novels had made him a millionaire. He owned a luxury apartment and a new silver Mercedes. He was so content with his carefree life in Beijing that he never even traveled overseas.
Today, a year later, Mr. Shi is considering emigrating to the U.S.—one of a growing number of rich Chinese either contemplating leaving their homeland or already arranging to do it.
“Things are real there,” says Mr. Shi, who has been trying to learn English by listening to language CDs in his car. “Here you don’t …