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September 28, 2010updated 04 Apr 2017 3:52pm

India and HK drive HNWI growth in Asia-Pacific

India and Hong Kong witnessed the biggest growth of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia-Pacific in 2009, reversing losses made at the height of the downturn The 2010 Merrill LynchCapgemini Asia-Pacific Wealth report said the two economies experienced the strongest HNWI population growth (Hong Kong 104.4% and India 50.9%), followed by Taiwan (42.3%)

By Farah Halime

India and Hong Kong witnessed the biggest growth of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia-Pacific in 2009, reversing losses made at the height of the downturn. 

The 2010 Merrill Lynch/Capgemini Asia-Pacific Wealth report said the two economies experienced the strongest HNWI population growth (Hong Kong 104.4% and India 50.9%), followed by Taiwan (42.3%).

But Japan retained its number one spot as the largest single market for HNWIs in the region.

Overall, Asia-Pacific’s population of HNWIs, those defined as having investable assets of $1m or more, grew “substantially” in size and wealth in 2009, the report said.

The HNWI population and its wealth gained 25.8% and 30.9% respectively, since 2008.

By the end of 2009, the wealth of the 3m Asia-Pacific HNWIs totalled $9.7trn.

Japan alone accounted for 54.6% of Asia-Pacific HNWIs, down only marginally from 56.8% in 2008 and 40.3% of wealth at the end of 2009. 

China also held onto its position as the second-largest HNWI-base in the region, with 477,000 HNWIs, up 31.0% from the previous year.

Asia-Pacific economies proved to be the most resilient in the world, helped in particular by strong GDP growth in China and India.  

A stream of private banks has recently targeted the region as a potential gold-mine for tapping into the HNWI market.

HSBC Private Bank and RBC Wealth are just two of the world’s top private banks that have openly announced plans to increase task force and investment in the region.  

The report singled out equities and real estate as specific areas for growth.

Equity market capitalisation surged 73.6% to $16trn during 2009 (from a 53.5% decline in 2008) and housing prices recovered after incurring heavy losses during the crisis.

Looking ahead, the report forecasts Asia-Pacific economic growth to outpace the rest of the world in 2010 and 2011. 

China and India are singled out as likely to experience the fastest growth in HNWIs population growth. 

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