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China Daily Website

Billionaire ranks on rise

Updated: 2013-11-20 11:23
By Chen Jia ( China Daily)

Billionaire ranks on rise

China is home to 157 billionaires, up from 147 last year, the second-largest billionaire population in the world after the United States, according to a report jointly released by Wealth-X and UBS AG on Tuesday.

The average age of China's billionaires - people with a net worth of at least $1 billion - is 53, nine years younger than the global average and the youngest in the world, the report said.

The average net worth of China's billionaires reached $2.4 billion this year, compared with $3 billion for the world's average.

About 39 percent of Chinese billionaires live in three major cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

"In China, most billionaires are entrepreneurs who remain heavily involved in their family businesses," said Simon Jin, president of UBS (China) Ltd.

According to the report, about $1.1 billion, or 45 percent of Chinese billionaires' assets, are concentrated on private holdings, $950 million, or 39 percent, of assets are in stocks, and $95 million, or 4 percent, are in real estate.

Along with the opening-up process of the Chinese capital market, an increasing number of billionaires prefer to diversify their investments by holding more global stocks, bonds or other financial products, to spread risks and maintain their wealth, said Jin.

The report also showed that nearly 90 percent of the country's billionaires made their own fortunes, the highest percentage of self-made billionaires among all the countries analyzed.

Compared with the world's average, the relatively younger Chinese billionaires prefer investments with higher returns and higher risks, Jin added, and they especially favor high-growth industries such as IT and the financial sector.

Chinese private businesses will likely continue to be enthusiastic about issuing stocks and going to the capital market, which means that the billionaires' holdings of stocks will account for a larger proportion of their total assets.

Globally, the number of billionaires rose to 2,170 this year from 2,160 last year, compared with the low point of 1,360 in 2009 after the global financial crisis, the report said.

Total billionaire wealth in the world increased to $6.5 trillion this year from $6.2 trillion in 2012 and $5.4 trillion in 2011.

Nick Griffith, head of North Asia at Wealth-X, a Singapore-based company that provides information on ultra-high net worth individuals, predicted that by 2020, the number of global billionaires is likely to increase 78 percent to 3,873.