World's billionaires made record money in 2017

World's billionaires made record money in 2017

Troy Powers
October 29, 2018

No matter how you describe them, the world's richest people made more money in 2017 than any year in recorded history. The United States alone is home to 585 billionaires-the most in the world-up from 563 in 2017.

While there were 53 new billionaires in the 2017, China's ranks of the megawealthy grew at double that rate-or just over two a week.

UBS, the largest wealth management firm in the world, banks one out of every two billionaires.

The report said that globally, self-made billionaires have driven 80 per cent of the 40 main breakthrough innovations over the last 40 years. "The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age" the UBS Billionaires 2018 report said.

According to the Swiss bank UBS's fifth annualbillionaires reportpublished on Friday, billionaires across the globe increased their wealth by $1.4 trillion previous year - an astonishing 20 percent - bringing their combined wealth to an astonishing $8.9 trillion. "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 total number of billionaires reached 2,158 a year ago, up 9% from 2016, according to a new report from UBS and PwC.

Total billionaire wealth in Singapore grew by 9 per cent to reach US$64.5 billion.

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 USA, the report said.

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It added that over little more than a decade, they had created some of the world's largest companies, raised living standards and made fortunes at an unprecedented pace. "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

In 2006, there were just 16 billionaires in China.

In China, 106 people became billionaires in 2017 (though others dropped off the list from 2016). Today, three decades after the government first allowed the emergence of private enterprise, there are 373 billionaires, one in five from a global perspective.

About 97% of China's billionaires are self-made, with the majority working in sectors such as tech or retail.

The Americas region is still home to the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, which in the United States grew by 12 percent to Dollars 3.1 trillion, powered particularly by the technology and consumer & retail sectors.

Billionaires from Asia, especially in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, are now challenging the traditional dominance of Americans as technology entrepreneurs.

However, UBS and PwC also highlight "the risks of doing business in China", as well as the opportunities.