The summer box-office hit “Crazy Rich Asians” planned to shine a light on an exclusive subgroup of the wealthy elite, but instead, the movie pointed to a fast-expanding proportion of Asian society. The data firm Wealth-X found that Asia is now creating more ultra-wealthy individuals, according to its new report. Asia holds wealthy individuals worth $30 million or more and they tend to accumulate wealth at a faster pace than any other region in the world.
Asia’s ultra-wealthy individuals grew by 18.5 percent last year and their total wealth shot up by 26.7 percent. The increases shown by the World Ultra Wealthy Report 2018 are twice the rate seen in the United States. Based on an analysis of Wealth-X’s database of wealthy individuals, Asia’s combined riches of ultra-wealthy produce a total of $8.365 trillion.
Although the United States remains the world’s leading location for the uber rich, Asia is quickly approaching. 35 percent of the world’s ultra-wealthy population is claimed by the U.S. however, Asia’s proportion of global wealth rose from 18 to 27 percent in the past decade. The new percentage brings Asia one percent behind the second wealthiest region, Europe, who holds 28 percent.
According to the report, the gap is set to shrink even further in the upcoming years. It predicts that Asia-Pacific’s Ultra wealthy population will continue to increase over the next five years, according to CNBC, at a compound rate of 8.3 percent. While Asia-Pacific is set to increase, the United States is predicted to post below-average gains.
Vincent White, managing director of the Wealth-X institute, told CNBC Make It that these predictions will bring Asia closer to parity with the world’s leading wealth regions. “Asia recorded the highest growth in UHNW (ultra-high net worth) population accompanied by a disproportionate rise in combined wealth of over one quarter,” said White. “In the forecast through to 2022 we expect to see a continuation of this growth, closing the gap with the Americas and EMEA.”
The improved economics and soaring stock markets last year contributed to the wealth coming in with the overall pace of wealth growth more than tripling from 3.5 percent to 12.9 percent throughout one year. Asia’s uptick was led by the ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs who capitalized on growing opportunities within the region; primarily in the financial, manufacturing and tech industries.
Most of the wealth accumulated came from mainland China, which is home to 26 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing ultra-high net worth cities according to the report. India and Hong Kong also registered an increase in wealth of 30 percent in 2017. Other significant proportions also came from countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh. In fact, Bangladesh once registered the fastest-growing ultra-wealthy population of any country in the world.
Wealth growth is expected to speed up across all regional demographics meaning wealth accumulation is not limited to the “crazy rich.” The middle class in particular is said to be expecting a faster pace, although, Asian countries continue to grow at a faster pace than more developed economics.
Asia’s middle class currently totals around nearly 525 million people, according to DBS bank’s “Imagining Asia 2020” report. Within the next decade, that same group is predicted to expand by more than three times to nearly 1.74 billion. The report notes, “That would make up about half of the world’s middle-class population by 2020.”