Asia is now leading the world in the most number of billionaires, even surpassing the United States for the very first time, a new study has revealed.
A report released by financial institution UBS and global auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on Thursday indicated that the world’s billionaires increased their wealth by 17% to $6 trillion based on 2016 data.
It is worth noting, however, that American billionaires retain control of $2.8 trillion, which is still most of the global wealth. Last year, the U.S. created 25 new billionaires for a total of 563, Independent reports.
Led by economic powerhouses China and India, Asia is now home to 637 billionaires, which is a huge jump from last year’s 117 billionaires. Self-made billionaires were observed to have their wealth rise faster than those who got wealthy through family ties. Impressively, 75% of these new billionaires are Chinese and Indian nationals.
The increase equates to a remarkable average of one new billionaire created in Asia every other day. It would take the region just four years to surpass the U.S. to have the world’s largest concentration of wealth if the trend continued at a similar pace.
UBS Head Global Ultra High Net Worth Josef Stadler highlighted the impact of such growth in the region:
“Beyond this headline figure, billionaires are also having a wider impact on the global economy through the people they employ and the growth they foster. The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic. Through their own passion for arts and sports, they are playing an increasingly important role in enriching the cultural life of communities.”
The study, which analyzed the data from 1,550 billionaires, cited numerous factors which influenced the dramatic growth in the region.
“A combination of geopolitical stability in Greater China, rising Chinese real estate prices, infrastructure spending, the growing middle class and buoyant commodity prices all joined together to boost wealth,” the report noted.
Europe’s billionaires barely increased to 342, adding only 24 new billionaires and losing 21 due to certain factors such as death. The report also cited the region’s “conservative business culture and strict regulations,” as among the causes for its apparent stagnation.
Image via The Kremlin