China’s economy may be on shaky ground, but it has the fastest-growing number of new high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) in the world, according to Capgemini’s newly released annual World Wealth Report.
The consulting firm’s data shows that the number of Chinese individuals holding assets of at least US$1 million (excluding real estate and collectibles) increased by 16 percent in 2015, coming in at the highest growth rate in the world. Furthermore, the combination of growth in China and second-place Japan (11 percent) accounts for almost 60 percent of all global HNWI population growth.
Based on its defining criteria, Capgemini estimates there are just over 1 million HNWIs in China, up from 890,000 last year. This puts it fourth on the list behind the United States (4.5 million), Japan (2.7 million), and Germany (1.2 million). Thanks to the combined wealth of China and Japan, however, the total value of Asia-Pacific HNWI wealth has surpassed that of North America for the first time.
When it comes to total net worth, Boston Consulting Group found that the number of Chinese millionaires reached 4 million in 2015, while the Hurun Report reported in February 2016 that China has 568 billionaires.
This report comes at a time when factors such as China’s soaring debt, slowing economic growth, currency depreciation, and turbulent stock market are prompting economic experts to question the health of the country’s economy, and in many cases warn of impending doom. Despite these warnings, Capgemini predicts that China is expected to contribute to the Asia-Pacific region’s dominance of global HNWI wealth over the next decade, with the Asia-Pacific’s rich holding two-fifths of all HNWI wealth globally—taking up more than Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa combined.