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Hong Kong Now Home to More Ultra Wealthy Than NYC

A new report from market research company Wealth-X reveals that Hong Kong has surpassed New York City as home to the most number of ultra high net worth individuals.

The ultra high net worth (UHNW) population, which only includes people with net worths over $30 million, rose 12.9% globally in 2017 to 255,810 individuals. Their combined net worth increased by 16.3% to $31.5 trillion thanks to a synchronized upturn in the world economy, rising asset markets and robust corporate earnings. 

Over 10,000 of them live in Hong Kong, a 31% jump for the city that is a semi-autonomous region of China. This means there are more UHNW people residing in the Asian financial hub with a population of just over 7 million than countries like the UK, Switzerland or Italy.

Wealth creation in Hong Kong was boosted by the further integration of its economy with that of mainland China, which includes a trading link between the Hong Kong and Shenzhen bourses. "The broad upturn in global financial markets and the reflation trade from higher interest rates were among the drivers of robust wealth gains. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. currency so domestic rates largely followed the upward path set by the U.S. central bank," added the report

Close to 9,000 extremely rich people live in New York City, which came in second place on the ranking. It saw the weakest growth in 2017 (7%) of the top 10 cities. Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris rounded out the top 5.

Asia-Pacific Sees Highest Growth Rate

Although the U.S. accounts for 31% of the world's ultra rich with 79,595 individuals, it recorded the slowest growth in UNHW population and collective wealth among the top 7 countries. North America is expected to remain the dominant ultra wealthy region in absolute terms, but its global share in UNHW population and collective net worth will decline slowly.

Collective wealth in China jumped by 33% in 2017 compared with 13% in the U.S. Twenty-six of the 30 fastest-growing major UHNW cities over the past five years are in China. "Over the medium term, growth of the Asia-Pacific economy is expected to outpace that of other regions, led by developments in China, where the government remains committed to meeting its target of doubling both GDP and per capita income by the end of this decade," said the report.  

The top 5 fastest-growing UNHW countries are Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Kenya and India.

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