29 October, 2018
In 2017, two out of three new super wealthy individuals a week in Asia were Chinese, keeping the region's 814-strong cohort above their 715 USA counterparts for a second year in a row.
A burgeoning tech industry and startup culture that's poised to challenge Silicon Valley has been the engine for much of China's wealth creation, according to the report, which noted that China produced nearly three times as many self-made billionaires as the USA past year. Today, only 30 years after the country's government first allowed private enterprise, they number 373 - almost one in five of the global total.
In the Americas region, the wealth of billionaires increased at a slower rate of 12%, to $3.6trn, with the United States creating 53 new billionaires in 2017 compared to 87 five years ago. "It's hard to become a billionaire through sheer organic growth".
China's 36-richest people have lost 19 percent of their wealth, or $83.8 billion, so far this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, more than any other country represented on the ranking of the world's 500 biggest individual fortunes.
Many of Asia's young fortunes are just above the billion-dollar mark, making them vulnerable to reversals of fortune, whether in the form of falling stock prices, political changes or personal difficulty, the report noted.
But the report also cautioned that China's billionaires have a high turnover. There are 475 billionaires in Greater China and 373 within China.
Of all Chinese billionaires, 97 percent are self-made. "They are developing new business models, seizing opportunities, moving rapidly between business sectors". "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalise on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise". Asia, as a whole, created three new billionaires per week. We have also found that Next Gen billionaires are extremely entrepreneurial.
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In the past year, 44 billionaires were created through their inherited wealth.
If the existing US/China trade-war escalates, UBS foresees lower economic growth in both countries before policy responses.
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".
Wealth transition from just five families accounted for 30 percent of the continent´s wealth expansion, the study said.
Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific ultra high-net-worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: "Asia's billionaires are young and relentless".
Billionaires are richer than before too, with their average net-worth sitting at $4 billion.