China Now Gains a New Billionaire Each Week

If you want to get rich quickly, you may want to consider a move to China.

According to a joint report released by UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), China produced new billionaires almost every week in the first quarter of 2015.

The 2015 Billionaire Report revealed that 917 self-made billionaires generated more than $3.6 trillion of the world’s wealth between 1995 and 2014. Of that, Asia’s billionaires claimed 36 per cent of the global share. This marks the first time it’s surpassed Europe, and is second only to the United States.

According to UBS, in 2014, there were about 200 billionaires in China, versus 570 in the US.

“Most of the billionaires in Asia are from China’s consumer and real estate sectors,” Zhang Lijun, managing partner of PwC China Financial Service Consulting, told media in Beijing. He attributed the expansion in wealth to the fever in setting up businesses and the booming capital market amid China’s economic growth.

The report found that of the billionaires in Asia, nearly 20 per cent of those who are self-made come from the consumer industry, with an average wealth of $3.2 billion, followed by billionaires from the real estate sector, which accounted for 12.9 per cent among the self-made billionaires, with an average wealth of $2.7 billion.

In some seemingly reassuring news, Zhang said that most China’s billionaires are self-made and are younger than global billionaires on average.

With that said, Chen Qing, president of UBS (China) Ltd, said the investment of billionaires in China is still concentrated in the mainland market, posing a potential risk for their wealth. He advises instead to diversify the investments, and employ a long-term investment strategy. He also said that most of China’s billionaires combine their personal wealth with family wealth, while those in the US tend to transfer the business wealth to professional managers.

“The wealth of many Chinese billionaires face challenges from the country’s economic slowdown and the inheritance problem,” said Chen.

According to the report, the number of self-made billionaires in the world will continue to grow in the next five to 10 years. This would then form up to 70 per cent of the total billionaire population, as facilitated by the growing number from Asia and a dilution of billionaires’ wealth while being transferred from generation to generation.