Number of UHNW in 2013: 10,675
Change over 2012: -5.1%
Total wealth: $1.5tn
At first glance, it looks as though China’s UHNW population is declining. While the country’s rich were hurt by poor performing stock markets last year, long-term trends show it could become the second- or third-wealthiest nation in the world in just a couple of years.
The vast majority of China’s wealthy are self-made multi-millionaires, said Seibold. Many are in the manufacturing and export industries, but people in the financial services and technology industries are gaining ground as well.
For most of the last decade, the country’s gross domestic product grew by double-digits. While that growth has been a major reason why the number of UHNW people has grown, another factor has been skyrocketing real estate prices, said Seibold.
Between 2000 and 2010, the price-per-square meter of a home in Beijing has climbed by 180%, according to economic research firm BBVA Research. Other major Chinese centers have seen similar increases.
Much wealth is also being driven by businesses relationships with the government, said Friedman. The people who can land the big government contracts are going to do the best.
“If you’re going to be successful you have to know how to navigate state owned enterprises and the government structure,” he said.
With China’s GDP still growing much faster than developed nation economies, Friedman predicts that there will be more UHNW people in China than all of Europe by 2017 and the country may overtake the US by 2025.
“There is just so much wealth being driven there,” he said.
Among the wealthiest: Founder and chief executive officer of Baidu, Robin Li, above with US billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has $11.1bn, according to Forbes.