- The world’s billionaire population grew to an all-time high of 2,754 people in 2017.
- Three Asian countries had the strongest growth in total net worth in 2017: China, India, and Hong Kong.
- As a city, Hong Kong added more billionaires than any other major city in 2017, bringing its total count to 93 – just 10 fewer billionaires than New York City.
In 2017, Hong Kong added 21 billionaires, bringing its total count to 93 – just 10 billionaires behind New York City, according to Wealth-X’s latest Billionaire Census. That’s the city-state’s largest annual billionaire gain to date. New York added just one billionaire in 2017.
While Hong Kong’s billionaire count as a country still pales in comparison to the United States – 93 people to 680 people, respectively – it probably won’t be long before Hong Kong overtakes New York as the world’s billionaire capital city.
According to Wealth-X research, Hong Kong’s surge in wealth was “driven by a strong domestic economic performance, the upturn in global financial markets (reflecting the region’s status as one of the world’s largest financial centres), and enhanced trade and investment links with mainland China.”
It’s a rebound victory for Hong Kong, which experienced the largest decline in billionaire count of any major city back in 2016, thanks to a falling stock market.
Li Ka-shing is Hong Kong’s richest man with a net worth around $US35 billion. He retired in March from running CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings, the two massive conglomerates that he built in Asia’s most famous rags-to-riches story. The richest person in New York, Michael Bloomberg, is worth around $US53 billion.
The next five richest billionaires in Hong Kong built their fortunes in real estate. It’s no wonder the region is known for its steep cost of living – and home to the world’s most expensive neighbourhood. The Peak, as it’s called, has been synonymous with wealth, luxury, and exclusivity since the colonial era, reported Business Insider’s international correspondent Harrison Jacobs.
It’s the kind of neighbourhood that consistently breaks records for the most expensive real estate in the world with residents like bankers, expats, business magnates, celebrities, and, more recently, Chinese millionaires and billionaires, Jacobs reported. In 2015, it was rumoured that Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire who founded Alibaba, purchased a $US191 million mansion there, but it has never been confirmed.
Thanks in part to Hong Kong’s gains, Asia’s total billionaire population rose to 784, according to the Billionaire Census, surpassing North America’s billionaire population (by 57 people) for the first time in history in 2017.
“Dynamic wealth creation [in Asia] was supported by improved emerging-market growth, more resilient currency movements against the US dollar, higher infrastructure spending, booming real estate prices, and robust demand from an expanding middle class,” reported Wealth-X.
The world’s total billionaire population grew by nearly 15% to 2,754 people, and total combined wealth increased to $US9.2 trillion, a 24% jump from the previous year thanks to strong global economic growth and big corporate earnings.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.