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'Super rich' on China's mainland top 7,600

Shanghai Daily, October 15, 2014 Adjust font size:

China's mainland is home to 7,600 ultra-high net worth individuals, according to a study released Tuesday.

With 6 percent of the world's total, China's mainland ranks second after the United States in terms of super-rich people, or those with a personal fortune of at least US$50 million, according to the survey by Switzerland-based lender Credit Suisse.

With its strong economic growth, rising asset values and currency appreciation, China also ranks third, after the US and Japan, in terms of the number of its citizens among the world's richest 10 percent, the survey said.

In broader terms, the combined household wealth on China's mainland as of the middle of this year was US$21.5 trillion, or about the same as in the US in 1970. By 2019, however, the total is set to match the figure recorded in the US in 1989, indicating almost four times the growth rate, the report said.

Also in the next five years, China might overtake Japan as the world's second-wealthiest economy, if the lackluster performance seen in the island nation over the past 10 years continues, it said.

Though China's growth record over recent decades is unparalleled, its mainland accounts for just 8.1 percent of global wealth, despite being home to more than 21 percent of the world's adult population.

Wealth inequality also remains an area for concern, the study said. The mainland's Gini coefficient — a measure of income inequality — is now 72 percent, up from 60 percent in 2000.

In global terms, China's mainland and Taiwan are said to have a "high" level of wealth inequality, compared with a "low" level in Japan, and a "very high" level in the US, Switzerland and Hong Kong, the report said.

In the 2000-14 period, the wealth per adult on China's mainland more than tripled to US$21,330, though the bulk of the growth came after 2010, with the appreciation of the yuan.

The corresponding global figure hit a record high of US$56,000 in mid-2014, Credit Suisse said.

According to a separate report released yesterday by Bank of China and Zurich-based private bank Julius Baer, the top two interests of China's wealthy over the next 12 months are to buy property and invest overseas.

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