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Asia's super rich are getting richer: report

A new golden age.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 17, 2007
The number of dollar millionaires in Asia has swelled by 8.6 percent, with Japan home to more than 1.47 million, a report published Wednesday found.

Japan has 43.7 percent of the region's High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) -- those with assets of more than one million dollars excluding their primary house -- according to the annual Asia Pacific Wealth Report, published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

The report found there were 2.6 million HNWIs across the region.

In addition, the report also found the number of ultra-HNWIs -- those with net assets of more than 30 million dollars -- rocketed by 12.2 percent, to a total of 17,500.

China had the second largest number of HNWIs with 345,000 (up 7.8 percent), followed by Australia with 161,000 (up 10.3 percent) and South Korea with 99,000(up 14.1 percent).

The fastest-growing countries for millionaires were Singapore, India and Indonesia, which saw the number of HNWIs rise by 21.2, 20.5 and 16.0 percent respectively, compared to a global increase of 8.3 percent.

Hong Kong had the highest average net worth for HNWIs -- of 5.4 million dollars -- in the region and the highest concentration, with 1.44 percent of the population having net assets above a million dollars.

"Overall, it's a story of growth, growth and more growth for the HNWI marketplaces throughout the region," said Rahul Malhotra, Head of Asia Pacific Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.

"While HNWI investment behaviors differ from market to market, the underlying drivers of wealth remain strong overall and we expect the region will continue to outpace the global rate of growth in HNWI wealth."

The report found that increases in the number of millionaires followed strong overall growth in the region in GDP and booming stock markets.

China's GDP grew by 10.5 percent in 2006, while India's increased by 8.8 percent, the report said.

It also found a large increase in real estate investments, both in terms of commercial property and trusts linked to the industry. Investors in South Korea held 42 percent of their assets in real estate, the highest in the region.

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