Asian millionaires now ‘wealthiest in the world’

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Asian millionaires now control more wealth than their peers in North America, Europe and other regions, according to a new World Wealth Report from Capgemini, a consulting group.

Asian millionaires saw their wealth jump by 9.9% in 2015, while poor performance in the equity markets in the United States and Canada slowed growth in North America to a sluggish 2.3% last year.

Latin American millionaires, meanwhile, suffered a decline in net worth of 3.7%, driven by political volatility and a turbulent stock market in Brazil. Europe’s growth was steady, with a 4.8% increase led by Spain and the Netherlands.

chart asia millionaires

Asians’ net worth has soared over the past several years, according to a CNN report today. The total wealth of Asia’s richest residents totaled US$17.4 trillion in 2015, up from US$8.4 trillion in 2006. North America’s wealthy have US$16.6 trillion socked away, up from US$11.2 trillion in 2006.

The CNN report also indicated that Asia surpassed North America in terms of the number of millionaires in 2014. And their ranks grew even more last year, soaring 9.4%.

Of the 5.1 million Asian millionaires in 2015, 2.7 million came from Japan and 1 million were from China. There were 4.5 million U.S. millionaires.

China had the fastest growth last year, hitting 16.2%, and is expected to expand even further in coming years.

Wealth in Asia is driven mainly by the financial services, high tech and health care industries. And it’s coming more from those owning start-ups than from those running long-standing businesses.

“It’s a more entrepreneurial source of wealth,” said Bill Sullivan, head of global financial services market intelligence at Capgemini.

North American millionaires, meanwhile, saw their ranks inch up only 2%, while Europe’s climbed 4.8% and Latin America’s fell 2.2%.

chart wealth held by millionaires worldwide

Globally, the wealthy have seen their net worth explode in recent years, skyrocketing from US$16.6 trillion in 1996 to US$58.7 trillion in 2015. That surge has mainly been powered by the rise of manufacturing and economic activity in China.

Capgemini expects worldwide wealth will surpass US$100 trillion by 2025.

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