Billionaires Made More Money in 2017 Than Any Other Year in History

Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates

Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates

UBS and PwC forecast that Asia will overtake the USA as a hotspot for global billionaires within three years.

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. Today, three decades after the government first allowed the emergence of private enterprise, there are 373 billionaires, one in five from a global perspective.

The rise in collective wealth was powered by growth in China.

China now has the highest concentration of billionaires outside the USA, according to the "Billionaires insight" report released on Friday. Of those 332, 199 were self-made entrepreneurs, with 89 of them hailing from China, the report found. Sixty-one inherited their fortunes. China will demand more from its own very wealthy, and the bargain gained by American billionaires-low taxes, light regulation, and little fear of that changing-is unlikely to be on offer from Beijing.

"China's vast population, technology innovation and productivity growth combined with government support, are providing unprecedented opportunities for individuals not only to build businesses but also to change people's lives for the better", said Josef Stadler, UBS' head of ultra-high net worth.

"Powered by the rise of China's entrepreneurs in an exceptional year, the number of Asian billionaires rose by nearly a quarter to 637", it said.

Breaking it down by source for the newest entrants, 40% are from the consumer and retail sector, followed by 17% from financial services and 11% in the technology sector. They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors'. Rates will be higher; we expect the Federal Reserve to hike rates three times next year, so the risk premium is higher. Billionaires are responsible for 80% of the 40 most significant innovations over the last 40 years and last year, billionaires alone employed a larger workforce than the whole of the UK. The younger billionaires are expected to drive the growth in philanthropy and sustainable investing; 38 per cent of family offices are now engaged in sustainable investing; 45 per cent aim to step this up over the next 12 months.

The U.S. and China are likely to see slower economic growth in the coming period as Donald Trump's trade war bites.

"US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20 percent from their mid-summer 2018 levels". Their assets increased by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.

"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. This was largely due to currency appreciation in the euro versus the dollar.

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