Billionaire wealth shatters $6tr barrier for first time

Asian billionaires lead the pack for first time – and half are from ChinaMore

Asian billionaires lead the pack for first time – and half are from ChinaMore

Asia's 637 billionaires outnumbered those in the United States for the first time past year, according to a new report, with China adding the most new billionaires at 101, bringing its total to 318, while Asia overall added 162. China accounted for 62% of the newcomers, followed by 12% in India and 12% in Russian Federation.

Billionaire's wealth had also overtaken global economic growth of 5.8 percent in 2016.

The total number of billionaires and their collective wealth has now reached an all time high - breaking the $6 trillion mark, according to the latest annual billionaires report from UBS and PwC.

The study credits the resurgence in global wealth previous year to the recovery in commodity prices as well as the burgeoning technology sector. The new billionaires created in 2016 employ at least 2.8 million people. The average age of Chinese billionaires stood at 55, while the global figure was 63.

'It's not enough anymore to just preserve and grow wealth, ' says Dr Marcel Widrig, partner and private wealth leader at PwC.

She said she was not anxious that greater state control, as promised by President Xi Jinping in his address to the 19th Communist Party Congress this week, would hold back private wealth creation.

Last year America had 563 billionaires while Asia had 637, a report by financial services firm UBS and auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers found.

Some 43% of the wealthy individuals who had to be cut from the billionaire list worldwide a year ago were Chinese, Chang said. In just four years' time, UBS and PwC expect Asian billionaires to also overtake the United States in total wealth.

This will be even more important when an estimated $2.4 trillion of billionaire wealth is expected to be transferred in the next two decades, notes Widrig, who adds: 'Technology, the creation of social networks and high-profile examples of philanthropic peers have all had an impact on this exclusive group'.

Most billionaires today are self-made entrepreneurs.

"This year we have seen not only a return to growth for billionaire wealth, but also a significant shift in its geographic dimensions". The large number of Chinese billionaires that dropped off the list a year ago partly reflects their outsized exposure to stock market volatility as well as the impact from changes to policy and access to funding channels, said Mr Chang, according to a transcript.

Billionaire wealth grew at double the rate of the MSCI World Index, one of the broadest measures of global company performance, suggesting that the ultra-rich are amassing wealth at a faster rate than the less well off. 'The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic.

The report found that billionaires are creating legacies for themselves through their cultural pursuits and are becoming more engaged in the arts and, increasingly, investing in sports clubs.

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