The number of rich Chinese people has surpassed the total of wealthy Americans for the first time as both countries keep churning out millionaires, a study by Credit Suisse showed.
The Swiss bank’s annual wealth survey released on Monday found 100 million Chinese ranked in the global top 10 percent as of the middle of this year, compared to 99 million in the United States.
‘Despite the trade tension between the United States and China over the past 12 months, both countries have fared strongly in wealth creation, contributing $3.8 trillion and $1.9 trillion respectively,’ said Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse.
Jack Ma, co-founder of China’s online retailer Alibaba, comes in as the wealthiest person in the communist nation. However, his net worth of $34.6 billion, according to Forbes, doesn’t even come close to his US counterpart, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos has a net worth of $114 billion, reports Forbes.
In fact, the next four billionaires after Bezos – Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Berkshier Hathaway CEO and investor Warren Buffet, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page of Google, all make more than the second wealthiest person in China, Ma Huateng, founder of internet company Tencent, who’s worth $32.8 billion.
China’s good fortunes have been especially enjoyed by young ‘fuerdai’, which translates as ‘rich second generation’, who drive super cars, think nothing of spending hundreds of thousands in a single night and whose displays of wealth are so outrageous that China’s president even took steps to rein them in.
Despite a crackdown on ostentatious bragging by President Xi Jinping, the fuerdai have still taken to social media to post pictures of their excess.
Moneyed young women are still showing off their fast cars, designer clothes and trips on private jets on Instagram.
Sian_vivi_x, who is in her 20s, is just one youngster who continues to document her enviable lifestyle, and the response has been impressive. She saw her Instagram followers jump from 70,500 in the summer of 2018 to its current level of about 95,000.
After a massive public backlash against the fuerdai, President Xi demanded that they be taught the value of money – so 70 of the billionaires’ children were sent to a ‘social responsibility’ retreat where the fine for turning up late was $133.
Additionally, he told the United Front Work Department, which is in charge of managing the relations of China’s non-political elite, to ‘guide private-sector businessmen, especially the younger generation, to help them think about the source of their wealth and how to behave after becoming affluent.’
The department said: ‘Some rich young people know only that they are rich, but have no idea where the money comes from. They know only how to show off their wealth, but don’t know how to create wealth’.
As for the ranks of the world’s millionaires, the total has risen by 1.1 million to an estimated 46.8 million, collectively owning $158.3 trillion in net assets, 44 per cent of the global total, the study found.
The United States added more than half of this number – 675,000 new millionaires – to its sizeable stock.
A decline in average wealth in Australia — largely due to exchange rates — resulted in 124,000 fewer millionaires there, while Britain lost 27,000 and Turkey 24,000.
The report estimates that 55,920 adults are worth at least $100 million and 4,830 have net assets above $500 million.
It forecast global wealth — which increased 2.6 per cent over the past year — would rise by 27 percent over the next five years to $459 trillion by 2024. The number of millionaires would also grow over this period to almost 63 million.
The share of the world’s bottom 90 per cent accounts for 18 per cent of global wealth, compared to 11 per cent in the 2000.
‘While it is too early to say wealth inequality is now in a downward phase, the prevailing evidence suggests that 2016 may have been the peak for the near future,’ it said.
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