Move Over America: China's Billionaires Are Taking Over

Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates

BILLIONAIRE wealth posted its "greatest ever" increase a year ago, rising 19 per cent to US$8.9 trillion, thanks to robust growth in the Asia-Pacific - in particular, China.

The number of billionaires in the country saw a net increase from 318 to 373, with a joint wealth of $1.12 trillion (£874bn), said the survey. At this rate, Asian billionaires will be wealthier than their American counterparts in three years, UBS said in its fifth annual edition of the Billionaires Insights report, New Visionaries and the Chinese Century.

"China is now the leading country for entrepreneurs to create wealth".

The report said that at the end of 2017, the world had 2,158 billionaires, 332 more than in 2016, and their total worth amounted to $8.9 trillion, 19% more than the previous year, well below the 39% increase reported among Chinese billionaires.

'Over little more than 10 years, they have created some of the world's largest companies, raised living standards and made fortunes at an unprecedented pace'. Explosive wealth creation in China.

"Two internet companies, Pinduoduo and Douyin, will be listed on the Nasdaq later this year, and the owners are already billionaires", said Francis Lun, the chief executive of investment services company Geo Securities.

There were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2016, the report said, but now almost one in five billionaires worldwide was Chinese.


While the USA holds the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, China is quickly catching up, and the APAC region could soon surpass the Americas.

In 2017, two out of three new super wealthy individuals a week in Asia were Chinese, keeping the region's 814-strong cohort above their 715 United States counterparts for a second year in a row.

USA entrepreneurs could play catch-up next year, though.

"Opportunities in new emerging industries and technologies turn out to be very important, so much so that the downward shift in China's real GDP growth since the global financial crisis has not been a significant hindrance to billionaire creation", said Wyatt. In Europe, billionaire wealth grew 19% to US$1.9 trillion.

To put the growth in context, China had only 16 billionaires in 2006.

The combined wealth of the Taiwanese billionaires rose by 12 percent to reach a total of US$84.4 billion (NT$2.6 trillion) in the year up to the drawing up of the report.

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