China Mints Two Billionaires a Week

The'Flaunt your wealth challenge is popular in China

Read more'Flaunt Your Wealth challenge grips China’s elite

More than three new billionaires were minted weekly in Asia past year, and China led the way by creating two new billionaires a week, the report found.

The world's richest have gotten even richer a year ago, with a collective 19% increase in wealth to US$8.9 trillion.

China now has the highest concentration of billionaires outside the USA, according to the "Billionaires insight" report released on Friday. "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

Billionaires from Asia, especially in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, are now challenging the traditional dominance of Americans as technology entrepreneurs.

"Over the past five years (2012-2017), the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17% each year, to reach United States dollars 117 billion in 2017". "Over the next two decades we expect a wealth transition of $3.4 trillion worldwide-almost 40 percent of current total billionaire wealth".

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.

There were two new billionaires in China every week, and three a week in Asia as a whole, the report said. Last year, 89 Chinese businessmen made their first billion dollars, three times more than in the USA and EMEA. "Supported by rapid urbanization and productivity growth, they are leveraging technology to revolutionize the country's service sector, as well as growing business in area such as AI and healthcare".

'They are developing new business models, seizing opportunities, moving rapidly between business sectors'. The younger billionaires are expected to drive the growth in philanthropy and sustainable investing; 38 per cent of family offices are now engaged in sustainable investing; 45 per cent aim to step this up over the next 12 months.

However, the report also estimated that if the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China escalates to an all-out trade war, both countries could see significantly lower economic growth before policy responses.

Currency appreciation saw European billionaires´ wealth grow 19 percent although the number of billionaires rose by just 4.0 percent to 414.

"US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20 percent from their mid-summer 2018 levels".

That growth has been driven by self-made entrepreneurs in China, particularly in the technology industry.

The Americas region was still home to the highest concentration of billionaire wealth in 2017, although wealth creation in the region was reported to be slowing.

"[Last year's] increase in billionaire wealth of 19 per cent was substantially higher than the average of 9 per cent in the previous five years", said Wyatt.

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