Thursday, October 1, 2020
International

Hong Kong surpasses New York as the home of the world’s super-wealthy

Hong Kong has outperformed New York as the home of the world’s super-wealthy

New York has lost its crown as home to the ultra-rich people, beaten out by the rising tide of extreme wealth in Asia.

Hong Kong surpassed the Big Apple as the city with the highest population of people worth at least $US30 million ($42 million), according to a new report. Hong Kong saw its number of ultra-wealthy increase 31 percent last year, to about 10,000, research firm Wealth-X found, higher than the nearly 9,000-strong population of the US’s largest city. Tokyo came third, while Paris beat out London to take the European crown as Brexit weighed down the UK capital.

The number of ultra-rich worldwide rose 13 per cent last year, according to Wealth-X, totaling about 256,000 people with a combined assets of $US31.5 trillion. Asia saw the fastest growth, driven by mainland China and Hong Kong, the study’s authors wrote. Reflecting the region’s rise, its share of the global population of people with at least $US30 million rose to just over one-fourth, up from around 18 per cent a decade ago.

The report’s authors wrote that Asia-Pacific is forecast to close the ultra-wealth gap with other regions over the next five years, but is expected to remain behind Europe, the Middle East and Africa in absolute terms. The number of ultra-wealthy in Asia-Pacific is expected to rise at a compound rate of 8.3 percent a year, they said.

While Hong Kong topped the city rankings, nowhere in mainland China made the top 10, despite the country being third in the list of nations. That’s because China’s wealthy are widely dispersed, illustrated by the fact it was home to 26 of the 30 fastest-growing cities for the ultra-rich.

The authors wrote the dynamism of wealth creation across China’s vast landscape is nevertheless staggering.

Hong Kong’s rise was also a reflection of China’s improving fortunes, with its position at the top of the global list “supported by enhanced trade and investment links with mainland China,” according to the authors.

Every region saw gains, however, thanks to last year’s benign markets, the report’s authors wrote.

They said that having experienced a roller-coaster ride the previous year, economic and financial markets almost without exception surprised on the upside in 2017. On an annual basis, world real GDP expanded at its fastest pace since 2011.

Still, the ultra-rich held more of their wealth — 35 per cent — in liquid assets such as cash than anything else, the study found. Private holdings accounted for about 32 per cent, while public holdings were 26 per cent. Alternative investments such as real estate, art and yachts made up 6.6 percent of total assets.

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