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Number of Chinese millionaires surges

June 20, 2017

The number of wealthy people in the world's second-biggest economy has grown exponentially over the past decade, according to a new study. But the increase in the private wealth market is expected to slow this year.

Reichtum in der Welt
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in China has risen nearly 9 times in the last decade, a private survey released on Tuesday showed, as strong growth in the world's second-largest economy has spurred wealth creation.  

The number of Chinese with at least 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) of investable assets hit 1.6 million in 2016, up from 180,000 in 2006, according to the 2017 China Private Wealth Report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank.

The overall value of the private wealth market increased to 165 trillion yuan ($24 trillion) in 2016, growing at 21 percent annually in 2014-2016.

The percentage of HNWIs with overseas investments increased to 56 percent in 2017, up from 19 percent in 2011, but the overall percentage of assets invested overseas has stabilized since 2013.

The top destinations for overseas investment were Hong Kong, the United States, Australia and Canada; although Hong Kong's popularity fell 18 percent and the United States dropped three percent from 2015 to 2017.

Respondents said their top three reasons for investing overseas were to diversify investment risks, to capture market opportunities of overseas investments and to migrate.

Slowing growth

Rapid economic growth in recent decades has led to a massive rise in private wealth not just in China, but across the Asia-Pacific region.

A study released by the consultancy Capgemini last year showed that the number of millionaires in the region was growing steadily.

 Read: Chinese investors chase 'golden visas' to the US

There were 5.1 million people in the Asia-Pacific region who own more than a million US dollars each, Capgemini's report stated. That marked a 9.4 percent rise in the number of millionaires in Asia, making it the continent with the most super-rich people globally, knocking North America from the top position.

But the latest report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank expects the growth rate of China's private wealth market to decline to 14 percent in 2017, to a total size of 188 trillion yuan.

The pace at which Chinese millionaires are generated is also about to slow down, with the report projecting a growth rate of 18 percent this year, down from the 23 percent surge the country saw between 2014 and 2016.

China's economic expansion has slowed down in recent years, with GDP in 2016 growing by about 6.7 percent, far lower than the double-digit increases it had recorded previously.

sri/tr (Reuters, dpa)