One billionaire created every two days in Asia, study says

One billionaire created every two days in Asia, study says

New report states that the wealth of billionaires of the world increased by almost $1 trillion in 2016.

But Asian billionaires still lag behind the wealthiest individuals in the U.S., who were worth a combined US$2.8 trillion past year. In just four years' time, UBS and PwC expect Asian billionaires to also overtake the U.S. in total wealth.

China's new billionaires helped boost Asian membership of the ultrawealthy club to 637 previous year, compared to 563 in the USA, according to the firms' annual Billionaires Insight Report.

Still, billionaire wealth in Asia, Matthews noted, is very volatile because it is so closely linked to the public markets.

The report also predicts that $2.4 trillion of billionaire wealth will be transferred in the next two decades, up from $2.1 trillion a year ago.

For the first time ever, Asia has overtaken the United States in terms of the number of billionaires in the region, with 75 per cent of the continent's billionaires hailing from China and India.

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The total wealth of billionaires rose from $5.1 trillion to $6 trillion, double the rate of the MSCI World Index. The U.S. added 25 billionaires for a total of 563.

"A combination of geopolitical stability in Greater China, rising Chinese real estate prices, infrastructure spending, the growing middle class and buoyant commodity prices all joined together to boost wealth", the report said, citing interviews with Asia's richest people. One new billionaire was created in Asia every two days in 2016. The entrepreneurial wealth had grown along with expansion of employment. Through their own passion for arts and sports, they are playing an increasingly important role in enriching the cultural life of communities'.

And unlike in the West, owners of conglomerates make up 23 per cent of China's rich club, according to the report. The number of Asia billionaires rose by 117 for a total of 637, with self-made billionaires seeing their wealth rise faster than those who became rich through family ties.

While the main source of wealth for most billionaires is the founding of a successful business, which typically causes them to accumulate huge stock positions in these companies, many choose to hedge with large cash holdings, per financial research firm Wealth-X, as reported by The New York Times.

'Billionaires are also having a wider impact on the global economy through the people they employ and the growth they foster, ' says Stadler, quoting a figure that 90 per cent of the billionaires that bank with UBS are entrepreneurs who invest 98 per cent of wealth in their companies, fuelling job creation worldwide, and philanthropy.

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