The ultra-rich list: Number of billionaires in China and Hong Kong increasing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 September, 2014, 1:55pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 12:49pm

The number of US dollar billionaires in China has risen by 33, to 190 in the last 12 months - but the country still has just a third the number of super-rich than the US, a new report reveals.

While the world's two largest economies occupy positions one and two on the world's rich list, Hong Kong has slipped down one place, to stand at number eight, after being surpassed by the number of billionaires in Switzerland

In total the world now has 2,325 billionaires - seven per cent more than last year, according to the report by by Swiss bank UBS and Singapore-based consulting firm Wealth-X.

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The combined wealth of the individuals was US$7.3 trillion as of June this year, the report stated, up 12 per cent on last year. They control almost four per cent of the world's wealth.

Completing the top five is Briain with 130, Germany with 123 and Russia with 114.

Hong Kong this year was found to have 82 billionaires with a combined total wealth of US$343 billion - up from 75 super-rich residents in 2013, worth US$224 billion.

Click table to enlarge

The combined wealth of mainland Chinese billionaires was US$440 billion – about US$60 billion more than last year.

The report did not state the billionaires’ names or individual net worth.

The report said: "Asia saw strong growth in terms of the size of its billionaire population and total billionaire wealth, and 30 per cent of the net increase in global billionaire wealth came from that region."

When it comes to cities, New York is the top dog, with 103 billionaires, beating Moscow at 85 and Hong Kong.

In comparison China's capital Beijing is hardly an uber-wealthy playground, with just 37 billionaires. Shenzhen and Shanghai have 25 and 21 respectively.

The report profiled the “typical” billionaire as being middle- to old-aged, and has seen his or her wealth increase by 4.4 per cent this year to more than US$3.1 billion.

While the average age has risen a notch to 63, the vast majority (93 per cent) are aged over 45. Just one per cent are aged under 35 years.

On average 19 per cent of a billionaires' wealth is held in cash. One in 30 billionaires owns a sports team or a racehorse.

Of the 2,325 ultra-rich, 2,039 are men, 89 per cent of who are married.

Of the 286 women on the list, two thirds are married and one fifth are widowed.

More than a third of the total number do not have a university degree.

Many of the billionaires (19 per cent) grew their fortunes in the finance, banking and investment industry, while others earned their money through business and industrial conglomerates (12 per cent) and real estate (5 per cent).

Nearly half of the overall wealth was generated through their privately held businesses, while 28 per cent earned them through publicly traded firms.

Hong Kong’s billionaires were particularly skewed towards real estate, with 80 per cent making at least part of their wealth from the sector. More than three-quarters of the city’s richest were born outside Hong Kong.

UBS and Wealth-X predict that number of billionaires will reach 3,800 by 2020, based on a variety of factors such as the technology industry becoming increasingly profitable.