Hong Kong is multimillionaire capital of the world, says new study

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 10:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 5:13am

At 15,400, Hong Kong has more multimillionaires - those with at least US$10 million in net assets - than any other city in the world, a study has found.

It is also fifth on the millionaire list, with 2.9 per cent of the population, or 211,700, having net assets of at least US$1 million. Together these wealthy and super wealthy residents hold net assets totalling a minimum of some US$350 billion.

Andrew Amoils, senior analyst at New World Wealth, which conducted the study, said the wealth of millionaires in Hong Kong accounts for about 45 per cent of the total individual wealth in the city. This was above the global average of 30 per cent.

The report said: "Interestingly, over the past 10 years, worldwide millionaire and multimillionaire numbers have grown at vastly different rates. Millionaire numbers worldwide have gone up by 58 per cent during this period, whilst multimillionaire numbers have gone up by 71 per cent."

The Johannesburg-based consultancy said New York came second and London third with 14,300 and 9,700 multimillionaires respectively. Just outside the top 10 were Beijing with 4,900 multimillionaires, Taipei with 4,800, and Shanghai with 3,600.

The consultancy used numerous sources to determine wealth, including public director and company databases and luxury-goods databases with a focus on owners of prime property, yachts, art and private jets. It excludes primary residences, but includes other property assets.

London topped the millionaire list with 376,600, above New York with 319,700, Tokyo with 265,800 and Singapore with 223,800.

Lawmaker Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, a lecturer in applied social sciences at Polytechnic University, said there was a need to redistribute wealth.

"There is a huge income disparity here. The government needs to get the rich people to pay more tax, and redistribute the money for the poor through a sound retirement system," said Cheung, of the Labour Party.

Some 19.6 per cent of the population is classified as poor since they fall below the government's poverty line of 50 per cent of median household income.

Wong Hung, assistant professor of social work at Chinese University, said one reason for income disparity was that the city put too much emphasis on the financial industry. He said economic diversity was important because there had to be more job opportunities for people who were not interested in or capable of working in finance.

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