Asia Now Has More Billionaires Than the US

Violet Tucker
October 27, 2017

Total billionaire wealth increased 17 percent to $6 trillion in 2016, after a decline the previous year, the report said.

The world's billionaires altogether hired at least 27.7 million people globally, roughly the size of the U.K.'s working population.

According to statistics of UBS and PwC, the number of billionaires increased by 145 in 2016. Led by China, the number of the region's billionaires surpassed the USA for the first time.

A notable trend across the billionaire board is a concern about the perception of wealth in a world where the gap between rich and poor is increasing.

The report that highlighted China's almost 50 per cent increase in billionaires past year comes days after Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the need for more equal development as the country tries to shrink its large wealth gap. And the average wealth of Chinese billionaires was US$2.5 billion.

On an average, Asia added a new billionaire every day, the UBS report says.

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China had by far the highest number in the region, with 101 new billionaires added to the list for 2016 - taking the country's total to 318, the report released on Thursday said. The number of Asia billionaires rose by 117 for a total of 637, with self-made billionaires seeing their wealth rise faster than those who became rich through family ties. "For numerous first generation of entrepreneurs, a major focus is bringing the business to the capital markets, raising funds and M&A", she said, adding that the Swiss bank sees Greater China as a "crucial" wealth management market. Their performance was twice better than the increase in the MSCI AC World Index.

"This year we have seen not only a return to growth for billionaire wealth, but also a significant shift in its geographic dimensions".

"Informal and formal networks orchestrate deals and investments, as well as helping with other topics such as philanthropy, inheritance and art", according to the report.

While the main source of wealth for most billionaires is the founding of a successful business, which typically causes them to accumulate huge stock positions in these companies, many choose to hedge with large cash holdings, per financial research firm Wealth-X, as reported by The New York Times.

The report found that billionaires are creating legacies for themselves through their cultural pursuits and are becoming more engaged in the arts and, increasingly, investing in sports clubs. 'The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic.

"What we are seeing is the acceleration of entrepreneurs in the billionaire cohort", said Josef Stadler, head of global ultra high net worth at UBS.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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