More than 9,500 Hongkongers joined the ranks of the city's US-dollar millionaires last year thanks to the economic boom, according to research released yesterday. There are 95,000 millionaires in the city, up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier, and their combined wealth amounted to US$520 billion. The city's richest people have the highest average value of net assets in the region, according to the 'AsiaPacific Wealth Report' published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. With a population of 6.8 million, it means about 1.4 out of every 100 Hong Kong residents are millionaires. The report attributed the jump in the number of millionaires to 'a strong performance on the stock market and higher property prices'. The Hang Seng index passed the 20,000-point milestone in December 2006. Then, in less than 10 months, it passed the 30,000-point mark and reached its record high of 31,958 points on October 30 last year. Last June a house at the Severn 8 luxury residential project on The Peak was sold at HK$41,099 per square foot. 'Robust domestic demand and China's accelerated expansion bode well for the Hong Kong economy last year,' said Victor Tan, Hong Kong market director at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. 'Despite dislocations in developed markets, Hong Kong's [wealthy] individuals continued to increase both in numbers and their combined wealth.' Last year, 1.57 per cent of Hong Kong's adult population had net assets of more than US$1 million, second only to Singapore, where the proportion was 1.99 per cent. Capgemini senior manager Wayne Li said while the global slowdown would affect growth in the short term, history suggested it would bounce back. According to the report, the wealth of the region's richest people is still growing at an annual rate of 7.9 per cent, and is projected to reach US$13.9 trillion by 2012.