World's billionaires saw ranks, wealth grow in 2017

China mints two new billionaires a week as Asia is set to overtake US as billionaire hotspot

In particular, China added 55 billionaires past year, increasing its total to 373, with combined wealth jumping 39 percent to 1.12 trillion dollars, primarily driven by robust e-commerce and promising technology businesses.

The sheer numbers are staggering: total assets of all billionaires of this world increased by nearly a fifth to $8.9 trillion over the past year, according to the UBS/PwC billionaires report published on Friday.

At the current rate, UBS and PwC expect Asia-Pacific billionaires to be wealthier than their United States peers in under three years.

The report said China was now the leading country for entrepreneurs to create wealth.

"Over the last decade, Chinese billionaires have created some of the world's largest and most successful companies, raising living standards", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS Global Management. There are 701 billionaires over the age of 70, whose wealth will transition to heirs and philanthropy over the next 20 years, given the statistical probability of average life expectancy.

However, female billionaires remain a small minority, making up just 11 percent of the total, and for some the report highlighted growing inequality.

"Today, only 30 years after the country´s government first allowed private enterprise, they number 373 - almost one in five of the global total". Since other industries like retail and financial services rely heavily on technology, technology has become the horizontal and most other industries are verticals.

UBS and PwC said there were already more billionaires in Asia than in the US.

In the past, "the majority of breakthrough innovations have been driven by companies based in the Americas", John Mathews, UBS' head of ultrahigh net worth for the Americas, said in a statement.

According to UBS, this trend will continue to accelerate over the next 20 years, given that there are now 701 billionaires over the age of 70. We have also found that Next Gen billionaires are extremely entrepreneurial.

In 2017, India's billionaires grew from 19 to 119, while their wealth increased by 36 per cent to US$440 billion.

Equities in the United States and Asian countries excluding Japan may fall by more than 20 percent from their levels in mid-summer of 2018, the report warned.

"Nowhere else in the world can you find better conditions for growth than in China".

These mega-rich increased their wealth by a $1.4 trillion which is more than the entire GDP of Spain or Australia.

In the Asia Pacific region, Thailand was the country which registered the strongest growth in the wealth and the number of billionaires, with a rise of 43 percent to 30, though only 57 percent were described as self-made.

"[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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