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October 29, 2018updated 30 Oct 2018 10:05am

Billionaires’ wealth increases 19% to $8.9trn in 2017, led by Chinese super-rich

Global billionaires’ wealth registered its highest-ever growth in 2017, achieving a double digit growth of 19% to $8.9trn shared among 2,158 individuals, according to a report published by Swiss bank UBS and auditing firm PwC.

According to the report titled ‘New Visionaries and the Chinese Century’, Western European billionaires’ wealth surged by 19%, however, the number of billionaires rose by only 4% to 414.

Americas billionaires’ wealth grew slower than the global rate at 12% to $3.6trn.

Mixed views on China

The UBS and PwC report found that Chinese entrepreneurs expanded their wealth at almost double the global pace. Their collective wealth grew by 39% to $1.12trn, meanwhile the number of Chinese super-rich increased to 373 in 2017 from 318 in 2016. Every week, China produced two new billionaires whereas Asia minted more than three super-rich per week.

These findings differ from another report released earlier this month by research group Hurun. The annual Hurun report of Chinese billionaires counted 1893 such individuals, down 11% from last year.

According to Hurun, the wealth of most Chinese billionaires has actually fallen in the past year. A total of 1012 individuals saw a decline in their wealth in the 12 months to October, verses 881 who saw their wealth grow.

Of their findings, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “A 20% drop in the stock exchange, on the back of a slowing economy and the US-China trade war, resulted in 456 drop-offs this year, the highest since records began twenty years ago.”

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