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.
As per a report issued by UBS AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers Thursday, the number of billionaires in Asia rose by 117 to a total of 637, with self-made billionaires seeing their wealth rise faster than those who became rich through family ties.
The U.S., on the other hand, added 25 billionaires for a total of 563. It, however, still rules the roost when it comes to the concentration of wealth. U.S. billionaires, the report says, still controls the most wealth at $2.8 trillion as compared to $2 trillion is Asia.
Total billionaire wealth increased 17 percent to $6 trillion in 2016, after a decline the previous year, the report said. The gain corresponds to an increase twice the 8.5 per cent increase of the MSCI AC World Index, a broad measure of equity-market performance throughout the world.
Asia’s economic expansion, on an average, saw a new billionaire created in the region every other day. At this pace, Asia would overtake U.S. as the world’s largest concentration of wealth in four years, the Swiss bank and the auditing firm said in an analysis of data from roughly 1,550 billionaires.
“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.
Europe’s figures stayed flat, with the region adding 342 billionaires from last year. This, UBS said, was in part due to death and because “entrepreneurial companies can find Europe a difficult place to do business due to both the conservative business culture and strict regulations”.