Hong Kong topples New York as world’s richest city

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Hong Kong now has more multimillionaires than New York, as the world’s wealth-creation machine moves East and China’s big cities are minting millionaires at a record pace, according to a new report.

The number of people worth $30 million or more grew 13 percent in 2017, to 255,810 worldwide, according to the World Ultra Wealth Report from Wealth-X. Their total wealth surged even more, helped by soaring stock markets and economic growth, to top $31.5 trillion.

But global wealth-creation is quickly moving to Asia from the U.S., as economies in the region grow faster and wealth becomes more concentrated. The growth in the number of people worth $30 million or more – known as ultra-high-net-worth individuals – surged 19 percent in Asia, twice the growth rate of North America, Wealth-X said. China was the big driver, with multimillionaires growing by 14 percent.

The shift has helped Hong Kong become the world’s richest city, as measured by the number of people worth $30 million or more. Hong Kong now has more than 10,000 people worth $30 million or more, topping New York, with 8,900. Tokyo ranked third with 6,800. Among the 30 fastest-growing cities in the world for multimillionaires, a whopping 26 of them are in China.

For now, the U.S. still dominates the world of the rich, accounting for about a third of the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals. There are nearly 80,000 people in the U.S. worth $30 million or more compared with only 17,000 in China. But the U.S. recorded the weakest growth among the top seven countries.

In the next four years, “Asia is expected to experience the strongest growth” in the world among those worth $30 million or more, the report said. By 2022, Asia is expected to have 108,000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, growing by 50 percent. North America will grow by less than a third over that time period, to 132,000.

That growth would help Asia “close the gap with other regions,” the report said.

Robert Frank

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