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World billionaire wealth surges to record high $12.6 trillion
29 October 2018, 03:33 | Kelvin Horton
Read more'Flaunt Your Wealth challenge grips China’s elite
This year's survey, based on interviews and financial data, widened its scope to include 2158 individuals from 43 countries, compared to 1550 billionaires from 14 countries cited in last year's report.
The report is the fifth edition of Billionaire Insights. And Anbang's CEO has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, and forced to give up $1.65 billion, for embezzlement and insurance sales violations.
Speaking to The Times, Ana Caistor Arendar, Oxfam's head of inequality, said it was proof "there has never before been so much wealth concentrated in the pockets of so few". "There is such massive growth going on in Asia, particularly in China". "In that year alone, 44 heirs inherited more than a billion dollars each (56% Americas, 28% EMEA, 16% APAC), totalling USD 189 billion (the discrepancy with USD 117 billion is assumed due to growth of assets in probate and revaluation of assets)", the report said. The US still leads regionally, with 585 billionaires, but wealth creation in the region is slowing. This year, however, has seen stock markets decline worldwide over interest rate increases in the US and emerging market volatility, only to be exacerbated by tensions surrounding the US-China trade war. "That will continue unless China enters into a real [trade] war with the USA".
"They do this by leapfrogging. Now you've got payment by face recognition".
The report highlights the role of Chinese structural changes in generating wealth while the United States continues to boast the biggest wealth concentration powered by technology, consumer and retail sectors. Famous Chinese billionaires include Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who is worth almost $34bn, according to Forbes. "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".
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.
For Taiwan, the 35 billionaires were all men, with an average age of 69. The average age globally is 64, while in China, it's 55. "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalize on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise".
The world's richest have gotten even richer a year ago, with a collective 19% increase in wealth to US$8.9 trillion.
It said 106 people became billionaires but 51 dropped off the list, illustrating the risks of doing business in China.
"U.S. billionaires are now global citizens", he added.
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