Asian Rich List Swells on Billionaire Boom in China

Asian Rich List Swells on Billionaire Boom in China

Asian Rich List Swells on Billionaire Boom in China

Their increase at, 17.4%, exceeded the global economic growth of 5.8% in 2016.

But while Asian billionaires now outnumber their U.S. counterparts, the Americans still control more wealth in total.

The report released Thursday by the investment firm UBS AG and consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said 101 of the 162 Asians whose personal wealth passed the $1 billion threshold for the first time in 2016 were Chinese citizens. Led by China, the number of the region's billionaires surpassed the US for the first time.

Some 43% of the wealthy individuals who had to be cut from the billionaire list worldwide previous year were Chinese, Chang said.

It is this widespread adoption in Asia that is creating wealth at a much more accelerated pace, he said.

Three-quarters of those who newly became billionaires in 2016 were from China and India, the findings showed.

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The tech industry creates the youngest billionaires - although most of the wealth creation was still driven by those over the age of 50.

"This year, we have seen not only a return to growth for billionaire wealth, but also a significant shift in its geographic dimensions", said Josef Stadler, head of the global ultrahigh-net-worth division at UBS Wealth Management.

In an annual report, UBS and PwC said that a year ago marked the first time it recorded more billionaires in Asia (637) than in the United States (563), crediting the rise of China's entrepreneurs.

The report finds that the total wealth of the world's richest people grew at about double the rate of global stock markets in 2016, as tracked by the MSCI World Index.

"A combination of geopolitical stability in Greater China, rising Chinese real estate prices, infrastructure spending, the growing middle class and buoyant commodity prices all joined together to boost wealth", the report said, citing interviews with Asia's richest people. The entrepreneurial wealth had grown along with expansion of employment. While only 45% of billionaires were self-made in 1995, the percentage of entrepreneur billionaires has now risen to 80%.

Technology continues to be the biggest creator of wealth, the report said. Through their own passion for arts and sports, they are playing an increasingly important role in enriching the cultural life of communities'. The large number of Chinese billionaires that dropped off the list a year ago partly reflects their outsized exposure to stock market volatility as well as the impact from changes to policy and access to funding channels, said Mr Chang, according to a transcript.

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