ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, China

Crazy, rich Asians: APAC's ultra-wealthy population is world's richest in 2017

Their total wealth climbed 14.8% to US$21.6t.

The number of high net worth of individuals (HNWIs) in the Asia Pacific grew 12.1% to 6.2 million, the largest number around the world. In turn, this increased their wealth by 14.8% to US$21.59t, making them the richest in the world, consultancy firm Capgemini revealed.

According to its World Wealth Report 2018, together with Asia's counterparts in the US, the two regions brought in new wealth of US$4.6t, making up 68% of the rise in global wealth.

Along with the wealthy population of US and Germany, the HNWIs from Japan and China made up 61.2% of the new HNWIs globally. The report also found that Japan's ultra-wealthy population rose 9.4% to 3.2 million with their wealth increasing 10.3% to US$7.7t, whilst Hong Kong's ultra-rich population grew 15% to 170,440 with their wealth climbing 16.3% to US$900b.

The study revealed that the wealth of HNWIs around the world transcended US$70t for the first time. With equities (30.9%) remaining as the largest asset class, the global HNWI investment returns on assets managed by wealth managers climbed 27.4% in 2017. Other assets like cash and cash equivalents (27.3%) and real estate (16.8%) also saw an increase in return of investments, the report noted.

The report also found that younger HNWIs who are under 40 years old thinks that they achieved higher investment performance compared to their older counterparts. According to the report, this may be due to younger billionaires’ need to focus on wealth creation in an earlier stage of their lives compared to those who are older who focus more on wealth preservation.

Additionally, Capgemini’s report noted that cryptocurrency investments gained attention globally in 2017. “However, HNWIs are cautiously interested in holding cryptocurrencies, with 29% globally having a high degree of interest, and 26.9% saying they are somewhat interested,” Capgemini said.

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