Billionaire wealth shatters $6tr barrier for first time

In a first, Asia tops US in billionaire count; India, China lead the way

Billionaires across the world piled on more riches with the ultra-wealthy in Asia now outnumbering the traditional leaders, the USA, according to research published today. Led by China, Asia saw 63% of its 568 billionaire-linked companies being publicly listed, versus 37% of 421 companies in the USA and 40% in Europe.

Additionally, the total wealth controlled by these billionaires surged by almost 18%, from $5.1 trillion to $6.0 trillion, far outpacing global stock markets that have soared into record territory, per a report by UBS Group Inc. But American billionaires still control the most wealth at $2.8 trillion. Still, the United States maintained a higher concentration of billionaire wealth, but Asia top that measure in the next three to four years.

China had by far the highest number in the region, with 101 new billionaires added to the list for 2016 - taking the country's total to 318, the report released on Thursday said.

The Chinese mainland added an average of two new billionaires to its super-rich list every week past year, according to new report, helping Asia replace the U.S.as the world's most fertile cradle for individual wealth.

But at current trends, the total wealth of Asia's billionaires will surpass that of those in the U.S. in four years, the report said.

The good thing about today's billionaires is that they are self-made, "growing entrepreneurial wealth has been accompanied by expanding employment", the report said. They account for about 80% of all individual wealth held by the world's super-rich.

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The population of billionaires rose by 145, or about 10% in 2016, to 1,542 billionaires, according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report. Their wealth rose from $5.1 trillion to $6 trillion, the reports claim.

And unlike in the West, owners of conglomerates make up 23 per cent of China's rich club, according to the report. 'The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic.

There were more billionaires in Asia than in the United States for the first time previous year - and half of them were Chinese, according to a report by UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Peer networks are playing an increasingly important role for billionaires when it comes to making and giving away money, the survey said.

'Billionaires are also having a wider impact on the global economy through the people they employ and the growth they foster, ' says Stadler, quoting a figure that 90 per cent of the billionaires that bank with UBS are entrepreneurs who invest 98 per cent of wealth in their companies, fuelling job creation worldwide, and philanthropy.

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