Stock surge sees number of young millionaires double

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 March, 2008, 12:00am

One in 47 aged 21 to 29 has liquid assets of at least HK$1m

The number of young Hong Kong dollar millionaires more than doubled last year, thanks to the buoyant stock market.

Citibank's latest consumer wealth survey has found that about one out of every 47 Hongkongers aged between 21 and 29 had liquid assets worth HK$1 million or above at the end of last year, compared with one in every 100 in 2006.

For the 30 to 39 age group, one in 13 people was a millionaire, up from one in 28 a year ago.

Weber Lo Wai-pak, chief executive officer and country business manager for Citibank Global Consumer Group, said an increasing number of young people now held investments.

'Because of the strong momentum, positive sentiment and high returns in the stock market, more people become millionaires,' he said, adding that many people had been enticed to buy shares last year.

At one point at the end of last year, the total number of millionaires rose by 50 per cent to 414,000, representing 7.9 per cent of the population aged 21 to 79. But the figure fell to 350,000 last month because of the slump in the stock market since December.

The number of millionaires with HK$1 million to HK$2 million in liquid assets increased 97 per cent to 228,000 last year.

The study found that millionaires on average held HK$4.6 million in liquid assets, down from HK$5.6 million in 2006.

Average total assets - including property and liquid assets - per millionaire was HK$9.9 million.

One in seven on Hong Kong Island is a millionaire, compared with one in 15 and 17 in Kowloon and the New Territories respectively.

Hong Kong East has 69,000 millionaires - the highest number of all districts, with Wan Chai having one in 5.49 people with HK$1 million in liquid assets, also the highest figure. This compares with one in 6.57 in Central and Western district, and one in 6.75 in Hong Kong East.

Men are richer than women, with 54 per cent of millionaires being males.

The survey result was based on telephone interviews with 4,029 respondents in October and November.

It also found that most millionaires viewed stocks as the best investment tool this year, with the public bullish about the stock and property markets.

Mr Lo suggested Hongkongers diversify their investments and use different investment tools, instead of focusing solely on shares. The number of millionaires had dropped because of the weaker stock market, he believed, but he was confident the figure could be kept at 300,000.