SHANGHAI - China is closing in on having 1 million millionaires.
According to an annual wealth report released on Tuesday, the mainland has 960,000 millionaires with personal wealth of 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) or more.
A violinist plays at the Haitian Shengyan (Sea and Sky Grand Banquet) Luxury Exhibition for yachts, private planes and other luxurious goods at Sanya, South China's Hainan province, on April 1. [Chen Wenwu / For China Daily]
That is up 9.7 percent year-on-year, said the GroupM Knowledge - Hurun Wealth Report 2011.
Rising property prices and a fast-growing GDP have been the key drivers for the rising number of Chinese millionaires, according to the report.
It found that 55 percent of Chinese millionaires derived their wealth from private businesses, and 20 percent are property speculators who have ridden the fast hike in home prices. About 15 percent are stock gurus, while the remaining 10 percent are high-earning salaried executives.
This is the third year of the report, written by publishing and events institute Hurun Report in cooperation with think tank GroupM Knowledge.
In 2009 there were 825,000 such millionaires while last year the number had grown to 875,000.
Housing prices rose across the country by 13.7 percent in 2010 according to government statistics, with luxury property prices rising even faster.
High-end property prices in China's leading financial metropolis Shanghai, for instance, grew 21 percent last year, according to figures from UK-based Knight Frank, one of the world's largest commercial and residential estate agents.
Despite the Chinese government's efforts to curb property speculation and control rampant housing prices, "the overall confidence of China's millionaires in the property sector and China's overall economy remains very high," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report.
"The impact (of the tightening measures) may be on excessive new wealth creation, but I don't think it is going to affect very much the (rich's) appetite for luxury products," said Hoogewerf, known in China by his Chinese name Hu Run.
"For most luxury brands, the Chinese luxury consumers are now No 1: either representing the biggest market share or the fastest-growing," he added.
Of the 960,000 millionaires, 60,000 have been identified as China's super rich with 100 million yuan or more in wealth, up 9 percent year-on-year.
Beijing led the way with 10,000 residents boasting 100 million yuan or more, followed by Guangdong province with 9,000 and Shanghai with 7,800.
The three places also led in the number of millionaires with wealth of 10 million yuan or more.
According to the report, Chinese millionaires average 39 years old, a full 15 years younger than their Western counterparts. Thirty percent of the millionaires are female, the same as last year.
The report also put the number of China's billionaires at 4,000, but only a third were on the Hurun China Rich List 2010.
"(It suggests) there is still a great deal of hidden wealth in the Chinese economy," said Hoogewerf.