Published: Sat, October 27, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

China produced two new billionaires a week last year

China produced two new billionaires a week last year

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.

China now has the highest concentration of billionaires outside the USA, according to the "Billionaires insight" report released on Friday.

Billionaires' wealth enjoyed its "greatest-ever" increase in 2017, rising 19 percent to $8.9 trillion ($7.8 billion euros) shared among 2,158 individuals, said the report by Swiss banking giant UBS and auditors PwC. Nearly one in five came from China, which saw 373 people hold US$1.12 trillion, rising from just 16 in 2006, according to a report on billionaires published by UBS and PwC on Friday. Explosive wealth creation in China.

It said 106 people became billionaires but 51 dropped off the list, illustrating the risks of doing business in China. The collective wealth of USA billionaires gained 12% climbing to $3.1 trillion.

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.

There were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2016, the report said, but now almost one in five billionaires worldwide was Chinese. According to UBS, 40 of the 179 new billionaires created previous year inherited their wealth-a trend that has driven an explosion of wealth inequality over the past several decades.

The U.S. accounted for US$3.1 trillion in billionaire wealth.

But economic factors are not the only thing that drive the new super wealthy, according to the report.

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

About 97% of China's billionaires are self-made, with the majority working in sectors such as tech or retail.

UBS estimates that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires, with 179 billionaires created a year ago.

To put the growth in context, China had only 16 billionaires in 2006. Rapid urbanisation, productivity growth and use of technology to grow sectors such as artificial intelligence, e-commerce and health care, are leading this, according to UBS and PwC.

In 2017, India's billionaires grew from 19 to 119, while their wealth increased by 36 per cent to US$440 billion. The wealthy are growing wealthier at an accelerating rate while the poor are becoming poorer.

Like this: