Asians drive boom in global billionaire wealth

Posted October 29, 2018

2,158 billionaires (including 199 new self-made billionaires) grew their combined wealth to more than the GDP of Australia or Spain, and researchers also found a growing trend towards "business families" preserving and growing inherited wealth.

BILLIONAIRE wealth posted its "greatest ever" increase past year, rising 19 per cent to US$8.9 trillion, thanks to robust growth in the Asia-Pacific - in particular, China. China will demand more from its own very wealthy, and the bargain gained by American billionaires-low taxes, light regulation, and little fear of that changing-is unlikely to be on offer from Beijing.

According to the Billionaires Insight Report, "China's billionaire entrepreneurs are leading their country's economic transformation, and by extension that of the rest of Asia".

Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said Asia´s billionaires "are young and relentless. But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

In China, the total share of female billionaires stood at 8 percent past year. The U.S. still has the world's largest number of billionaires at 585, but only created 53 new ultra rich previous year, while 31 fell out of the league. Asia, as a whole, created three new billionaires per week.

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Meanwhile, India and Indonesia are set to emerge as the next top Asian countries behind China to watch for billionaire growth, due to their large populations, fast urbanisation and potential for new technologies to disrupt traditional businesses, the report said.

But Chinese billionaires expanded their wealth at almost double that pace, growing by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.

The number of billionaires in Singapore has remained stable at 22, with just one new addition - Min-Liang Tan, co-founder of gaming hardware company Razer Inc.

Numerous country's 373 billionaires - nearly one in five of the global total - are self-made tycoons, often involved in the technology and retail sectors.

The report highlights the role of Chinese structural changes in generating wealth while the United States continues to boast the biggest wealth concentration powered by technology, consumer and retail sectors.

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"Billionaires are embracing sustainable investing". Mathews said major anticipated initial public offerings in 2019, including Uber, could reveal more stealth wealth, potentially adding more billionaires to the US's count.

U.S. and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20% from their mid-summer 2018 levels.

The rise in collective wealth was powered by growth in China. "There are 701 billionaires over the age of 70, whose wealth will transition to heirs and philanthropy over the next 20 years, given the statistical probability of average life expectancy".

Currency appreciation saw European billionaires' wealth grow by 19% although the number of billionaires rose by just 4% to 414.

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