Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The growth of millionaires

India and China saw bigger growth in the millionaire population last year than anywhere else, and wealth in the Asia-Pacific is expected to grow nearly 8 percent a year to 2012 despite a slowdown in the world at large, a survey showed.

The number of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific grew 8.7 percent from a year ago to 2.8 million people and their combined wealth soared 12.5 percent to $9.5 trillion, excluding the value of their homes and consumables, Merrill Lynch and Capgemini said at a news conference in Singapore on Wednesday.

Asia was home to some of the world's fastest-growing populations of millionaires, their annual World Wealth Report said, with India, China, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore in the top ten in terms of growth.

The number of millionaires in India rose 22.7 percent to 123,000 people, the fastest growth in the world, and millionaires in China grew 20.3 percent to 415,000, making it home to the fifth-largest number of millionaires in the world, displacing France in that position.

Li Ka-shing, who controls a vast telecoms and property empire in Hong Kong and China, ranks as the world's 11th richest man, according to Forbes.

Globally, millionaires grew 6 percent to 10.1 million people and their wealth rose 9.4 percent to $40.7 trillion in the same period, the Merrill/Capgemini report said.

Kong Eng Huat, Merrill Lynch's Southeast Asia head of wealth management, said that in five years millionaires in Asia would have more combined wealth than those in Europe.

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