Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Worlds billionaires became 20pc richer in 2017

China mints two new billionaires a week as Asia is set to overtake US as billionaire hotspot World's billionaires increase wealth by a record £6,900,000,000,000 in one year
Elsie Buchanan | 29 October, 2018, 05:56

The total number of billionaires reached 2,158 a year ago, up 9% from 2016, according to a new report from UBS and PwC.

China produced two new billionaires a week previous year as the fortunes of the world's ultra-rich soared by a record amount, Swiss banking giant UBS and auditors PwC said Friday.

"We need to consider how a maturing economic cycle could affect investors, including billionaires specifically", Mike Ryan, Americas chief investment officer with UBS Global Wealth Management said.

This year, however, the timing of its release and its focus on Asia generally and China specifically comes at an awkward time for the Swiss bank: A UBS wealth management banker who works in Singapore was stopped by Chinese authorities from leaving the country, Reuters reported.

'But this is just the beginning.

Rapid urbanisation and productivity growth would help the young entrepreneurs at the forefront of China's wealth creation continue to reach the ranks of the billionaires in the coming years, it said.

It there were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2006. Since other industries like retail and financial services rely heavily on technology, technology has become the horizontal and most other industries are verticals.

China's ultra rich are mostly "self-made" entrepreneurs, with some 97% building their own fortunes rather than gaining it through inheritance, compared with 69% in the US, the report said. "They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors".

Samsung planning three Galaxy S10 variants, one foldable phone for 2019
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"We are experiencing a new wave of entrepreneurship worldwide, with billionaires at the vanguard of innovation. Indeed, numerous younger generation want to change the world, making an impact through their family offices and philanthropic organisations", he said.

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.

"US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20 percent from their mid-summer 2018 levels". But wealth creation is slowing, with the USA creating 53 new billionaires in 2017, compared to 87 five years ago.

"It's hard to become a billionaire through sheer organic growth".

The report said the Americas region was still home to the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, but wealth creation was slowing.

The 30 richest septuagenarians or older have a combined net worth of more than United States dollars 1 trillion.

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

If current trends hold, Asian billionaires' wealth will surpass that of their American counterparts in three years.

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