World’s billionaires saw ranks, wealth grow in 2017


China will demand more from its own very wealthy, and the bargain gained by American billionaires-low taxes, light regulation, and little fear of that changing-is unlikely to be on offer from Beijing.

"In 2017, they equalled America´s level of venture capital funding for start-ups, registered four times as many Artificial-Intelligence-related patents and three times as many blockchain and crypto-related patents as their USA counterparts". The U.S. still has the world's largest number of billionaires at 585, but only created 53 new ultra rich a year ago, while 31 fell out of the league.

The report noted that great wealth in Asia remains relatively volatile in a climate of rapid economic development and erratic stock markets that forge fortunes fast, but that can equally undo them.

Asked about the growth of female billionaires, Josef Stadler, head global ultra high-net-worth at UBS, said: "It's growing".

China is leading the world in billionaire-generation with two billionaires created every week, which accounts for 22% of the increase, or $315.8 billion, in billionaire wealth worldwide. Today, three decades after the government first allowed the emergence of private enterprise, there are 373 billionaires, one in five from a global perspective. "They are developing new business models, seizing opportunities, moving rapidly between business sectors".

China produced 50 so-called "unicorns" - companies with a valuation of at least US$1 billion - from 2016 to 2018, slightly behind the 62 produced in the United States, the report said.

Of all Chinese billionaires, 97 percent are self-made.

UBS and PwC said there were already more billionaires in Asia than in the US.

The report said China was now the leading country for entrepreneurs to create wealth.

Technology is the driving force behind what many of these billionaire entrepreneurs do.

"US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20 percent from their mid-summer 2018 levels".

To put the growth in context, China had only 16 billionaires in 2006.

In 2017, India's billionaires grew from 19 to 119, while their wealth increased by 36 per cent to US$440 billion.

The report, jointly published by UBS Global Wealth Management and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was titled "New Visionaries and the Chinese Century", in which Chinese entrepreneurs are hailed as the "vanguard of a new industrial revolution".

The Billionaires Insights 2018 report said China was home to one in five of the world's dollar billionaires with 106 new members joining the club previous year, the equivalent of around two every week and taking the country's total to 373, up from just 16 in 2006.