China leads the way as worlds billionaires get even richer

China mints two new billionaires a week as Asia is set to overtake US as billionaire hotspot

The number of billionaires around the global also increased, from 1,979 in 2016 to 2,158 past year.

China's ultra-wealthy are driving that trend, the report said, adding two new billionaires per week a year ago, and growing at a rate nearly double that of the Americas and Europe; in Asia as a whole, three people a week saw their net worth cross the $1 billion mark.

China created two billionaires each week, while Asia as a whole made three new billionaires per week. The US created 53 billionaires in 2017, compared with 87 in 2012.

There were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2016, the report said, but now almost one in five billionaires worldwide was Chinese. Among the 16 billionaires minted in China earlier this year, about a quarter of them lost that status by the end of trading Thursday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And a total 97 per cent of all China's billionaires were self-made.

China's ultra rich are mostly "self-made" entrepreneurs, with some 97% building their own fortunes rather than gaining it through inheritance, compared with 69% in the US, the report said.

'In 2017, they equalled America's level of venture capital funding for start-ups, registered four times as many Artificial-Intelligence-related patents and three times as many blockchain and crypto-related patents as their U.S. counterparts'.

Asked about the growth of female billionaires, Josef Stadler, head global ultra high-net-worth at UBS, said: "It's growing". "They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors", said Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management. While women still represent a small portion of the total number of billionaires overall - 11 percent - their rise could indicate a steady shift in wealth creation.

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More than 300 Chinese companies went public previous year, unlocking what UBS deems "stealth wealth", the difficult-to-measure wealth of people in private markets with little transparency.

In 2017, two out of three new super wealthy individuals a week in Asia were Chinese, keeping the region's 814-strong cohort above their 715 U.S. counterparts for a second year in a row.

"Billionaires are embracing sustainable investing".

Equities in the United States and Asian countries excluding Japan may fall by more than 20 percent from their levels in mid-summer of 2018, the report warned.

A dip in stocks globally is unlikely to hinder a rapid increase in the number of billionaires in China, but an escalation in the US-China trade war could.

The Americas region was still home to the highest concentration of billionaire wealth in 2017, although wealth creation in the region was reported to be slowing. "There are 701 billionaires over the age of 70, whose wealth will transition to heirs and philanthropy over the next 20 years, given the statistical probability of average life expectancy".

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