• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14pm
NewsHong Kong

One in 38 Hongkongers is a US dollar millionaire, wealth study reveals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 12:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 5:18pm

One in every 38 Hongkongers is a US dollar millionaire, according to a new study which ranks the city 11th on a global rich list of percentage of millionaires by population.

Luxury magazine Spear's, in conjunction with wealth consultancy company WealthInsight, has released a new list of the cities with the highest percentage of US dollar millionaires.

Unsurprisingly, the tiny city-state of Monaco – home to Bono, Novak Djokovic, and Jenson Button – came on top, with almost a third of the principality's population having more than US$1 million in net assets. Not far behind are Swiss banking centres Zurich and Geneva, while New York and Frankfurt complete the top five.

The study defines 'millionaires' as individuals with net assets of US$1 million or more, excluding their primary residences.

Hong Kong comes in at number 11 on the list, with 2.58 per cent of the city having millionaire status. According to the most recently released government figures, Hong Kong has a population of 7,187,500, meaning that approximately one in 38 Hongkongers is a US dollar millionaire.

"The findings are not surprising," Dr Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor of social sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University told the South China Morning Post. Chung pointed to Hong Kong's "very free economy" and booming property market as the reason for the high number of millionaires, but emphasised that inequality is still a massive problem.

"We have more than 1.3 million people living under the poverty line," Chung said. "As more people are earning more from Hong Kong, many people in [the city] are not able to share the fruits of this prosperity."

In March, it was reported that the number of Hong Kong dollar millionaires in the city had risen by more than 20 per cent in 2013, reaching a record 732,000.

"Favourable tax and outstanding location are important criteria for attracting clusters of millionaires, but so too is ready access to wealth managers and private banks. Switzerland's two financial hubs of Zurich and Geneva are traditional havens of private banking, but so too is London, the world's third largest home of millionaires," said WealthInsight analyst Oliver Williams.

A ranking like this is important, added Williams, "because wealthy individuals, more than any other group, will change their home and even their domicile based on these factors".


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This article is now closed to comments

It's not hard becoming a millionaire, especially how skewed towards the rich everything is here.
What is hard is making those millionaires become socially aware enough to help the people on the bottom, one quick look around Hong Kong and it'll show that people would prefer getting a newer phone than spending the money instead on feeding a family living in poverty.
wow what news!
of course the fact that the 'deng uk' policy has allowed NT peasants to become instant GBP sterling millionaires as the current asking price for a three storey village house would tend to make the whole situation ludicrous
This study only shows and further reinforces how screwed up HK is on the issue of inequality gap between super rich and poor, in my book it's nothing to brag about, hypothetically speaking, even if I were the one in the 38.
get a job as a Legco member & attend as often as the Heung Y Goook chairman
money for nothing
Raju Harilela
It is time for us to revisit our tax regime and introduce a progressive tax regime, increasing taxes for the more affluent in society. The income that is brought in from the rich can be used to increase the quality of life for the poor. It's time for the government to step in and help those in need. The NGOs are doing what they can but they need to be recognized and become legitimate government organizations which are well funded. Together, we can lift the 1.3M people from below the poverty line. But we need legislation to achieve these goals.
For example, if a progressive corporate tax regime was introduced from 16.5% to 22%, we would still be amongst one of the most competitive tax systems in the world. If a progressive income tax regime was introduced from 15% to 20%, there would not be an exodus because of this increase. The proceeds could be used to widen the comprehensive social security scheme, to ensure benefits for our elderly and to provide dignity and those low income earners.
We also need a bill of rights for domestic helpers which provide at least the minimum wage established for all Hong Kong citizens. We need a minimum size of room, length of bed, shower and toilet, and provision of bedding and necessities.
We also need a bill of rights for tenants in Hong Kong.
Removing the Hong Kong Dollar peg and allowing our currency to appreciate will also benefit our under-privileged since so much of our food and beverage is imported.
Good reason to tax the rich to help the poor people here that they arrogantly ignore.
Sadly, most HK people don't care as long as they are part of the 1...
The population does not "mean that one in 38 are millionaires"; 2.58 per cent means 1:38. The relevance of the population figure is that it means that 185,400 Hongkongers are US$ millionaires. Griffiths must have flunked mathematics.
Marcus T Anthony
Yet the average income is a little more than US$1000 a month. Huge problem with the wealth gap.


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