"Most of the billionaire wealth sits in the Americas, but in the next three years, we project that APAC will overtake the Americas". 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 said there were already more billionaires in Asia than in the US. Now in its fifth edition, the report draws on UBS and PWC's extensive client network and access to data, and aims to promote a deeper understanding of the billionaire population globally. "Over the past five years (2012-2017), the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year", the UBS report concludes.
"China is where we're seeing unbelievable and unprecedented growth", said John Mathews, the head of ultra-high-net-worth Americas for UBS Global Wealth Management.
According to the report, the world's 2,158 billionaires grew their combined wealth by United States dollars 1.4 trillion past year, more than the GDP of Spain or Australia, as booming stock markets helped the already very wealthy to achieve the "greatest absolute growth ever", the Guardian reported. The collective wealth of US billionaires gained 12% climbing to $3.1 trillion.
In 2006, the Chinese had 16 billionaires, with the command economy still entrenched. Their assets increased by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.
It warned of lower economic growth in the United States and China if the trade war between the two countries escalates.
The U.S. still has the world's largest number of billionaires at 585, but only created 53 new ultra rich a year ago, while 31 fell out of the league.
In China, 106 people became billionaires in 2017 (though others dropped off the list from 2016). "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management. Today, three decades after the government first allowed the emergence of private enterprise, there are 373 billionaires, one in five from a global perspective.
"We are experiencing a new wave of entrepreneurship worldwide, with billionaires at the vanguard of innovation".
A total of 199 billionaires were created over the year globally, with almost a third gaining their wealth through some form of innovation, while the rest did so by scaling up businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, UBS and consultants PwC said.
"The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age", the report reads. Far from being a Wild West with little or no controls, China's government is looking closely at how business is evolving and what the successful entrepreneurs are doing with their money.