Tuesday, November 13, 2018


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A scene from the movie

Source: Crazy Rich Asians
A scene from the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”

You may have bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket with dreams of becoming a billionaire.

Billionaire wealth grew by 19 percent to $8.9 trillion in 2017 — the largest increase historically, according to the latest report on billionaires from UBS and PwC.

Number of billionaires across subregions

RegionSubregionNumber of billionaires 2016Number of billionaires 2017
Asia Pacific711814
Greater China418475
Oceania3443
South East Asia259296
EMEA586629
Eastern Europe147163
Middle East and North Africa4252
Western Europe397414
Americas682715
Central and South America8384
North America599631
Total1,9792,158
Source: UBS/PwC

That surge comes largely from two places: Asia, specifically China, and the U.S.

The U.S. added 53 billionaires in 2017 — a 4 percent increase — bringing its total to 585 and representing $125 billion in total wealth.

China’s billionaire population grew at a faster clip — two new billionaires per week. The country added 106 billionaires over the course of the year, while 51 fell off the list, “illustrating the risks of doing business in China,” the report said.

As a result, China added 55 billionaires net for a total of 373 in 2017. In 2006, the country had just 16 billionaires.

Right now, the Americas region is still in the lead when it comes to total billionaire wealth.

But Asia, in total, now has more billionaires than the U.S. And within a few years, its billionaire wealth is also poised to surpass the U.S.

More from Personal Finance:
Here’s how much you need to earn to be part of the 1 percent
What the 1 percent are teaching their children about money
Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg’s plans to donate her SurveyMonkey shares

One reason for that is the growing Asian tech industry.

China currently has 67 companies with unicorn status — start-ups valued at over $1 billion — compared with 119 in the United States.

In 2017, China created more self-made billionaire entrepreneurs, with 89 versus 30 in the U.S.

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