Asia’s Top 4 Countries With The Most Billionaires
Asia’s billionaire population has been exploding in recent years. Which countries have the most billionaires?
Published on 10 November 2017
There’s a general perception globally that the amount of wealth in Asia is on the rise. And this, it turns out, is true: Asia is now – for the first time ever – home to more billionaires (637) than the United States (563), according to a recent report on the global billionaire population in 2016 by UBS and PWC. However, that’s merely ranking a continent versus a country. Nevertheless, the number of billionaires in Asia and how quickly their rise has occurred is astonishing.
Josef Stadler, Head of Global Ultra High Net Worth at UBS, predicts that total wealth in Asia could surpass the US in as little as four years. That’s assuming that the rate of a billionaire being created every two days continues.
We’re going to look at the top 4 countries in Asia with the most billionaires.
You might have guessed it, but it’s now confirmed. China tops the list with 318 billionaires. The jump from the previous year – when only 251 in China were able to call themselves “nine-digiters” – is perhaps what’s most incredible. That’s an increase of 27%. Some of the major sources of billionaire wealth in China were real estate, conglomerates, and industrials. Of the 318 billionaires, the average wealth is US$2.5 billion – this is the lowest average on our list of Asian nations.
Sort of China, but not really, Hong Kong comes in second place with 69 billionaires as of 2016 – up from 64 the previous year. Although this 8% increase is not as high as what was seen in greater China, considering Hong Kong’s size, 69 billionaires is substantial. Hong Kong also has the highest average net wealth of billionaires in Asia, at US$4 billion. Most of this wealth comes from real estate, industrials, and technology.
The Land of the Rising Sun ranks third in Asia on the list with billionaires having increased by 22% to 33 in 2016. Japan is unique because 85% of the billionaires there are connected to publicly listed companies. Technology, consumer and retail, and health are the most popular sectors for Japanese billionaires.
The island nation is home to 21 billionaires, having seen a momentous 24% gain from 2015 to 2016. Singaporeans are similar to Chinese and Hong Kongers where the average wealth of multigenerational billionaires (who inherited their wealth) is higher than self-made billionaires. However, the total wealth of multigenerational billionaires is higher at US$32 billion versus US$27 billion for self-made billionaires. Singaporean billionaires tend to be involved in real estate, health, and consumer and retail industries. Interestingly, Singapore has the lowest number of billionaires connected to public companies at 57%, and there are no female Singaporean billionaires – yet.
Although all these countries have a substantial number of wealthy billionaires, when you compare the number of millionaires in each country, you start to see a massive disparity. Japan, for example, has 2,826,000 millionaires versus China’s 1,590,000. Dig deeper and the median wealth per adult in Japan is US$120,493 versus China at US$4,885. The upper echelons continue to increase their wealth in Asia, however time will tell if that wealth at the top trickles down to the broader populations.