Billionaires in China now account for 50% of Asia-Pacific’s $3.31trn billionaire wealth, up from 39% in 2018, according to UBS and PwC’s latest billionaires report.
As of the end of July, billionaire wealth in China increased a staggering 71% to $1.68trn from $982.4bn in 2018, the report said, noting that the increase was also a result of the recent stock market rally in the mainland.
“Wealth of mainland China billionaires grew 41% from April to July 2020, as the country’s coronavirus infections receded in March, causing equity markets to rally,” the report said.
The number of billionaires also grew nearly 30% to 415 this year from 325 in 2018, with nearly 98% of them being self-made.
The top wealth-driving industries in the mainland were the healthcare sector, materials and entertainment and media. Within the entertainment and media industry, online gaming was the sub-sector which grew the most.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the number of billionaires went down to 65 this year from 71 in 2018. However, wealth continued to grow steadily to $356.1bn in July from $311.5bn last year, according to the report.
The three main sectors that drove wealth in the SAR include industrials, healthcare and technology, it added.
Overall, Asia-Pacific, including Greater China, Southeast Asia and Australia, has the highest number of billionaires globally, with 831 billionaires, according to the report. They represent 38% of the global billionaire population.
The report added that billionaires in the region are more resilient compared to their global peers. From 2019 to early April 2020, after the stock market sell-off, Asian billionaire wealth just fell 2.1% to $2.4trn, which is significantly less than the 10.1% and 7.4% drop in EMEA and the Americas, respectively.
“Billionaire wealth rebounded by 36% to $3.3trn from early April to the end of July 2020, higher than the rate of EMEA (22.5%) and the Americas (27.9%), demonstrating the region-wide resilience and the immense opportunities in its economic recovery,” Amy Lo, co-head of wealth management for Asia-Pacific at UBS, said in the report.
The region also has the highest share of billionaires in technology and healthcare with 181 billionaires (8%) of the total billionaire population against 153 (7%) of the Americas and 88 (4%) of the EMEA.
According to the report, APAC billionaires who can be identified as “innovators and disruptors” grew their wealth by 23% to $1.4trn this year from 2018, while “traditional billionaire wealth” only increased 13% to $1.2trn during the same period.
“Over 80% of the billionaires in the region are first generation entrepreneurs. As these billionaires pioneer innovation in business and other aspects, they are increasingly seeking professional advice for bespoke integrated banking solution,” Lo said.