Beijing may be battling with New York for the top spot as the city with the world’s most billionaires, but, according to a new report by Wealth-X, the Chinese city didn’t make it onto the list of the world’s top 30 cities with the most ultra high net worth individuals (UHNW), or individuals with US$30 million or more. With 960 of such individuals, Shanghai is China’s leading city in that regard and yet it just made it onto the list in Wealth-X’s latest study, the “World Ultra Wealth Report 2017.” It shares the 29th spot with Moscow and Phoenix, Arizona.
Overall, China has played a major role in boosting the world’s UHNW population. Globally there was a 3.5 percent increase in UHNWs in 2016, creating a combined wealth of US$27 trillion, and the Asia-Pacific region accounted for about 26 percent of that total, up from 18 percent in 2006. China lays claim to the third-largest UHNW population in the world, with more than 16,000 individuals, up 3.6 percent from the year before. China’s UHNWs also saw wealth rise 2.2 percent in 2016 from 2015, according to the report.
Within China, Shanghai has 960 UHNW individuals, a 9.1 percent year-on-year gain from 2015. This only makes up about 6 percent of China’s total ultra wealthy population. With China ranking third in the world for UHNWs, this suggests that these individuals are more spread out geographically as opposed to being concentrated only in China’s most cosmopolitan cities.
In Wealth-X’s list of cities with the most ultra high net worths, New York leads with 8,350, up 9 percent from the year before. Following close behind are Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, with a combined population of 18,290 UHNWs.
Wealth-X attributed Asia-Pacific’s growth of wealth to currency movements and added further that “investor fears of a major slowdown in China were largely unfounded.” Overall, wealth growth is expected to maintain a steady upwards trajectory, reaching 299,000 UHNWs globally by 2021 from the current population of 226,450.
Many of the trends Wealth-X identifies among ultra high net worths around the globe, are becoming true for Chinese consumers. The report notes the UHNW consumer segment is increasingly tech savvy, is gravitating more towards experiential luxury, and are exhibiting a growing interest in philanthropy.