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China Dominates World’s Billionaires with Most From Real Estate
Brief:China now has the largest number of billionaires in the world with most from property.
China now has more billionaires than anywhere else and the main source of their wealth is from real estate.
China has 568 billionaires, up 90 in 2015, beating the United States at 535, which fell by two, according to the Hurun Global Rich List 2016. India remains third on 111, up 14. The total is up by half from 2013 and the number of Chinese billionaires is up 80% since then.
Total wealth jumped 9% to US$7.3 trillion, more than combined Gross Domestic Product of Germany and the UK and close to half that of the United States.
At the same time, Beijing, China, has replaced New York, US, to become the billionaire capital of the world for the first time, with 100 of the Hurun Billionaires living there, up 32 from last year. Four of the top cities are from China – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou – and Hong Kong is also in the list.
Despite a global slowdown, the number of billionaires in the world in 2015 has hit a record 2,188, up 99 year-on-year.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, says, “Despite its own slowdown and falling stockmarkets, China minted more new billionaires than any other country in the world last year, mainly on the back of new listings.  Growth in billionaires for the rest of the world was held back by a slowdown in the global economy, the strengthening of the US dollar and the drop in oil prices.”
Overall, real estate has produced the second highest number of billionaires around the world, behind Technology, Media, and Telecommunications.
The combined net worth of the Chinese billionaires is US$1.4 trillion, similar to the GDP of Australia with 119 billionaires coming from real estate. Wang Jianlin and family, owner of Wanda, in China, has the highest wealth in the real estate sector at $26 billion and is placed 21st in the world, up 12 on last year.
Among other countries where real estate has created the highest wealth are the UK and Spain.
Bill Gates, 60, holds onto top spot with US$80 billion, despite having given away more than US$20 billion to date.  In January, he bought a new home near Seattle, a 6,000 square metre property, for US$150million. He is way ahead of Warren Buffet in second with US$68 billion and Amancio Ortega of Zara with US$64 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg, at 31, the youngest member of the Top 10, has had a good year, seeing his wealth rise US$3billion to US$47 billion.  Zuckerberg made world headlines in December when he announced that he would donate 99% of his Facebook stock to a charity set up with wife Priscilla Chan.
Wealth fell for 729 individuals and 102 dropped out of last year’s list. Russian billionaires lost US$130billion, on the back of a further 19% drop in the Russian Rouble and with lacklustre performance of mining, metals and energy.
The combined wealth of the US billionaires was US$2.4 trillion, just a little less than the GDP of France. New York has the highest concentration of billionaires, with 93, followed by San Francisco and LA on 28 and 21 respectively.
The combined wealth of the Indian billionaires rose 16% to US$308billion, with most in Mumbai.
Germany rose to the number 4 spot with 83 billionaires, 11 more than 2015. Bielefeld and Hamburg are the preferred cities with eight billionaires each.
The UK rose one place to 4th with 82 billionaires, two more than last year. There are six new entrants, led by Mark Scheinberg, 41, of Poker Stars with a net worth of US$4.4billion. London is the overwhelming city of choice for 50 billionaires. UK billionaires have a combined wealth of US$267billion and the overall wealth of UK billionaires rose 10%. Gerald Grosvenor and family and SP Hinduja and family are the richest people living in the UK.
Russia drops to sixth with 80 billionaires; 13 less than 2015. All are self-made. Real estate is the second highest sector with 12 billionaires. Moscow is home to 66 billionaires. The combined wealth of the Russian billionaires is US$234billion, down by US$130billion and the overall wealth of Russian billionaires fell 36%.
Switzerland is seventh with 66 billionaires, six more than 2015. With 16 billionaires, Geneva is the top city for billionaires in Switzerland. The combined wealth is US$226.3bilio.
France rose to 8th position with 51 billionaires, five more than 2015, with a combined wealth of the French billionaires is US$300bilklion, 13% more than previous year. Home to 30 billionaires, Paris is the preferred city.
Brazil is in 9th with 49 billionaires, seven less than 2015, with combined wealth of US$146billion.
Japan is 10th with 42 billionaires, three less than 2015, with combined wealth US$111billion. Most live in Tokyo.
The average age is 64, the same as the last two years and more than two-thirds of the list (69%) are self-made. Around one in seven or 15% of the list is made up of women, with Oceana the only continent where female billionaires outnumber male.
One in eight of all billionaires are immigrants, led by 52 to the USA, 32 to the UK and 27 to Switzerland. With 56, China is the country producing most of the migrant billionaires, followed by Germany with 25 and India with 24. With US$33billion, Sergey Brin, 42, of Google is the wealthiest immigrant in the world.
The Hurun Report, which produces the rankings, specialises in data on High Net Worth Individuals.  Wealth calculations are a snapshot of 15 January 2016.  This is the fifth year of the ranking.


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