Chinese rich rank 2nd in Asia-Pacific region in number, wealth

16:46, September 29, 2010      

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The combined wealth of the Asia-Pacific region's high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) surged 30.9 percent to 9.7 trillion U.S. dollars, surpassing that of Europe's in 2009, according to the 2010 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini on Monday.

A high-net-worth individual is defined as having more than 1 million U.S. dollars in liquid assets. China's HNWI wealth skyrocketed 40.4 percent, remaining the second largest both in terms of number and wealth in the region. In addition, their investment in real estate saw a year-on-year growth that ranked first in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report also shows the region's HNWI population rose nearly 26 percent to 3 million in 2009, catching up with Europe's HWNI population for the first time. The number of ultra HNWIs in Asia-Pacific rose nearly 37 percent and ultra HNWI wealth jumped nearly 43 percent in 2009.

China remained the second largest HNWI market in Asia-Pacific, and the fourth largest in the world, with a 477,000 HNWI population and 2.35 trillion U.S. dollars HNWI wealth on the Chinese mainland. That is an increase of 31 percent and 40 percent, respectively, from the previous year, according to the report.

Of the Chinese mainland HNWI assets allocated to financial markets, equities ranked first, accounting for 42 percent, well above the regional average of 27 percent. The report predicted the investment in equities in 2011 will remain at a high level of 39 percent.

In addition, the share of Asian-Pacific HNWI assets dedicated to real estate rose from 22 percent to 26 percent, a year-on-year increase of 9 percentage points, higher than the average level.

As of the end of 2009, more than half of Asia-Pacific HNWI assets were in equities and real estate. In 2008, the proportion in equities dropped to 23 percent due to the financial crisis, a new low in the record. But assets headed back to the equity market last year.

The report also pointed out Asia-Pacific HNWIs remained primarily invested in their home regions in 2008.

By Liangjun, People's Daily Online


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