Finance

World's billionaires made record money in 2017

World's billionaires made record money in 2017

In 2017, the U.S. created 53 new billionaires, compared with 87 five years ago. 585 of these billionaires are in the United States, which houses the most of any one country in the world. 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 United States counterparts.

UBS also notes that the world now has a total of 2,158 billionaires.

There were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2016, the report said, but now almost one in five billionaires worldwide was Chinese.

China is fast becoming the global hub for billionaires, according to a new report from UBS and PwC.

Nearly one in five came from China, which saw 373 people hold US$1.12 trillion, rising from just 16 in 2006, according to a report on billionaires published by UBS and PwC on Friday. "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". The growth rate in the whole of Apac was 32 percent.

In 2006, there were just 16 Chinese billionaires. Their assets increased by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion. But as business remains risky in the region, China also lost one billionaire per week (106 new billionaires vs. 51 ex-billionaires).

If the existing US/China trade-war escalates, UBS foresees lower economic growth in both countries before policy responses.

A burgeoning tech industry and startup culture that's poised to challenge Silicon Valley has been the engine for much of China's wealth creation, according to the report, which noted that China produced nearly three times as many self-made billionaires as the USA past year.

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.

'But this is just the beginning. Of those 332, 199 were self-made entrepreneurs, with 89 of them hailing from China, the report found. Sixty-one inherited their fortunes.

It said 97 percent of them are self-made, many of them in sectors such as technology and retail.

Asian billionaires are the youngest globally, with an average age of 61.43.

"We need to consider how a maturing economic cycle could affect investors, including billionaires specifically", Mike Ryan, Americas chief investment officer with UBS Global Wealth Management said.

The report, which UBS produces annually with the audit and consulting firm PwC, is meant to be a marketing tool for the firm's wealth management business.


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