Asia billionaires overtake United States for first time led by China

In a first, Asia tops US in billionaire count; India, China lead the way

'Looking further forward, we estimate that $2.4trillion (2.1 trillion euros) of billionaire wealth will be transferred in the next two decades as billionaires age, with a significant amount going to philanthropic causes, ' the report said.

While Asia still lags behind the United States, where billionaire wealth is driven mostly by technology, financial services and materials, it is nonetheless expected to outstrip the United States by 2021.

Last year America had 563 billionaires while Asia had 637, a report by financial services firm UBS and auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers found. The latter was second only to consumer retail as a source, creating 23% more wealth compared to a year ago. In Asia, the wealth of billionaires added up to to $2 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion in 2015. "Dramatic growth in Asian wealth shows it could overtake the USA in just four years". U.S. billionaires now hold around $2.8 trillion in wealth.

The research said an annual increase of 17 percent among the super-rich was supported by a surge among Asia's emerging billionaire class as well as an uptick in growth in the materials, industrials, financial and technology sectors.

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Three-quarters of those who newly became billionaires in 2016 were from China and India, the findings showed. While only 45% of billionaires were self-made in 1995, the percentage of entrepreneur billionaires has now risen to 80%.

On an average, Asia added a new billionaire every day, the UBS report says.

If the trend continues, Asian billionaires will surpass their USA counterparts in overall wealth in four years, the two professional firms estimate.

As expected in a country with such an entrepreneurial mind set, technology is the biggest driver of wealth creation.

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Europe's number was basically flat at 342 in part due to death and because "entrepreneurial companies can find Europe a hard place to do business due to both the conservative business culture and strict regulations", UBS said. 'The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic.

So now the million dollar question is, how did billionaires make so much money in the year 2016. the answer to this question is that they make money by stronger stock markets, rising commodity and real estate prices and tech investments.

Billionaires are a key target segment for UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, as the bank expects the wealth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals to grow faster than the world average. Through their own passion for arts and sports, they are playing an increasingly important role in enriching the cultural life of communities'.

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