World's billionaires saw ranks, wealth grow in 2017

Alicia Cross
October 29, 2018

Unsurprisingly, the wealth of Chinese billionaires helped drive the growth, with their net worth up 39% to US$1.12 trillion, according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2018. Explosive wealth creation in China. "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

Collectively, their wealth increased by $1.4bn previous year to $8.9bn - the largest absolute increase in billionaire wealth in history.

UBS also notes that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires.

"UBS head of ultra-high-net -worth Ravi Raju said: "(Asia's) remarkable wealth creation presents an huge opportunity for UBS, which now has a relationship with three out of five billionaires in Asia".

China's ultra rich are mostly "self-made" entrepreneurs, with some 97% building their own fortunes rather than gaining it through inheritance, compared with 69% in the USA, the report said. 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 U.S. counterparts. Among the 16 billionaires minted in China earlier this year, about a quarter of them lost that status by the end of trading Thursday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 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.

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Younger billionaires are the driving force behind a growth in philanthropy and sustainable investing, as they use their wealth to create positive social impact. "They are developing new business models, seizing opportunities, moving rapidly between business sectors". "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalize on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise". Mathews said major anticipated initial public offerings in 2019, including Uber, could reveal more stealth wealth, potentially adding more billionaires to the US's count. Almost two thirds (62 percent) of billionaires' sons and daughters who inherited the family business in 2017 sought to become entrepreneurs, compared with 42 percent who inherited assets. China, home to 1.4 billion people, added 55 new billionaires a year ago and their aggregate wealth grew 39% to $1.12 trillion.

The report said billionaires have a "transformative" effect on the world, having driven 80 per cent of the 40 main breakthrough innovations in the last 40 years.

"Billionaires are embracing sustainable investing".

The report quotes an unnamed Chinese billionaire as saying: "Nowhere else in the world can you find better conditions for growth than in China".

The 30 richest septuagenarians or older have a combined net worth of more than Dollars 1 trillion.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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