Business / Macro

China leads Asia in billionaire creation: report

(Reuters) Updated: 2016-10-14 09:29

BEIJING - China led Asia in creating billionaires last year and is set to undergo its first inter-generational billionaire wealth transfer, industrial research showed Thursday.

Led by China, Asia is creating a billionaire every three days, and China's billionaires wealth rose by 5.4 percent in 2015, according to a report released by international investment bank UBS and global accounting firm PwC.

A total of 113 Asians became billionaires last year, representing 54 percent of the global total, while 80 of them were from China, with an average age of 53 years old. Almost half came from the technology, retail, and real estate sectors, the report showed.

With around 85 percent of Asia's billionaires being first-generation, the report predicts the largest ever transfer of wealth is coming, for the millenial generation.

This would be Asia's first-ever handover of billionaire wealth, and for Chinese billionaires, most of whom are first-generation, the transfer of wealth to millennials will have a profound effect on family legacies they have built, said Karen Chen, president of UBS (China).

Billionaires in mature markets and their related family businesses are fifth generation or older. The study showed that Europe ranks first in terms of number of multi-generational billionaires and is a close second to the USin terms of multi-generational wealth.

The key challenges for Asian billionaires include wealth preservation, business succession and contributing to society, according to James Chang, managing partner at PwC China Financial Service Consulting.

With better education and access to technology, the new generation of the ultra-wealthy typically emphasize social good and philanthropy, seeing business success as a means of benefiting society, the report showed.

Impact investment, or investment in social good and philanthropy is gaining popularity among the Asian super rich, Chen said, citing booming business for UBS's charity consulting and investment services.

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