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".