The wealthy are getting wealthier at a higher rate than ever before. A report by the consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Swiss investment bank UBS finds that the total number of billionaires grew 9 percent to 2,158 in 2017. At the same time, billionaire wealth grew by 19 percent to $8.9 trillion in 2017, the report said.
This wealthiest one percent now own around half of the world’s entire wealth, a share that is growing apace. At the other end of the spectrum, 70% of the world’s working population, nearly 3.5 billion people, accounts for only 2.7% of the world’s wealth.
The world’s wealthiest people added $1.4 trillion to their fortunes in 2017, this represents a faster rate of growth than ever before, including the infamous uber-capitalist Gilded Age in the United States, which produced hugely influential and wealthy family dynasties in the U.S. and Europe.
The United States still has the highest number of billionaires, with 585 (added 53 billionaires in 2017 — a 4% increase), but China is closing in with 373, up from a mere 16 a dozen years ago.
Number of Chinese billionaires: China added 55 new billionaires in 2017 — bringing its total to 373 (Actually 106 people in China joined the superrich league during the period, but almost half of that amount also dropped off the list).
The country was minting 2 new billionaires each week last year. China’s super rich expanded their wealth, growing by 39% to $1.12 trillion year-on-year. In 2006, China had just 16 billionaires.
With an average age of 55 years, China’s billionaires are almost a decade younger. China’s billionaires create wealth faster and take their businesses public earlier; 17% of Chinese new billionaires founded their companies within the last 10 years, more than twice as many as America.
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