Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

China Is Minting Billionaires at a Furious Pace

China Is Minting Billionaires at a Furious Pace

Nowhere was this more visible than China, they said in the 2018 edition of their Billionaires Insights Report, with China's billionaires rising to 373 from 318 with joint wealth of US$1.12 trillion, up 39 per cent. He is also the only one who made his wealth in entertainment and media; most Singapore billionaires are in real estate and financial services.

UBS and PwC forecast that Asia will overtake the USA as a hotspot for global billionaires within three years.

UBS also notes that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires.

The report said billionaires have a "transformative" effect on the world, having driven 80 per cent of the 40 main breakthrough innovations in the last 40 years.

"People have become very wealthy with this [impact of innovation]", John Mathews, head of ultra-high net worth Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

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.

The United States, however, retains the greatest amount of billionaire wealth as the wealthiest individuals live there.

Global billionaire growth of 19 percent was lower than growth in the MSCI World Index, which rose by 25 percent.

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According to the report, the assets of the 36 Swiss billionaires increased by 19 percent past year to 123.5 billion US dollars, driven by bullish financial markets.

'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'.

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

"As we work with our billionaire clients, numerous next generation seem highly motivated, committed to their chosen careers, the family business and/or doing social good", the report said. Of those 332, 199 were self-made entrepreneurs, with 89 of them hailing from China, the report found. Sixty-one inherited their fortunes. "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

In the technology sector, there has been intense competition between Chinese and USA companies to the extent that Shenzhen is now challenging Silicon Valley, the report said.

Younger billionaires are the driving force behind a growth in philanthropy and sustainable investing, as they use their wealth to create positive social impact.

The US still leads regionally, with 585 billionaires, but wealth creation in the region is slowing. "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalize on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise".

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