Hong Kong's ultra rich population up 5% as assets grow 12%

November 19, 2014 18:19
Nearly 10 percent of the ultra rich individuals in Hong Kong made their fortunes through real estate, while almost half of them partly inherited their wealth, according to the study prepared by UBS and Wealth-X. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong's ultra rich are not only getting richer, their ranks are also growing.

The city's population of individuals with net assets of US$30 million or more has grown more than 4.5 percent this year, according to a study prepared by Swiss banking group UBS AG and consultancy Wealth-X.

There are now 3,335 ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals in Hong Kong, up by 155 from last year, UBS said in a statement released on Wednesday. The rate of growth is four times faster than last year.

Their average net worth was up 7 percent to US$178 million, almost US$40 million more than the global average, the report said. Together, they are worth US$595 billion, up 12.3 percent from last year.

In terms of density, Hong Kong is No. 3 in the world at 456 UHNW individuals per million residents, a ratio that is 20 times higher than the global average.

It comes after Luxembourg, which has 1,313 UHNW individuals per million people and Switzerland at 824. Hong Kong is followed by Norway at 304 and Singapore at 255.

"Nearly 10 percent of [the ultra rich] individuals [in Hong Kong] made their fortunes through real estate, while almost half of them have partly inherited their wealth," the report said. More than a quarter of them are female, it added.

In terms of number of UHNW individuals, Hong Kong ranks fourth in Asia and 13th globally.

Asia is home to 46,635 UHNW individuals with combined net worth of almost US$7 trillion.

On the global level, the combined net worth of UHNW individuals grew 7 percent to US$30 trillion from last year. A quarter of them are found in publicly held businesses while a quarter of their wealth is in cash.

Ultra rich individuals spend about US$234 billion annually, accounting for 18.9 percent of the luxury market. Spending on travel and hospitality, automobiles, art, jewelry and watches take up nearly 60 percent of their annual spending.

By 2019, there will be 24 percent more UHNW individuals, while their wealth will increase by 29 percent, the report said.

The findings were based on a study of the UHNW segment by geographical location, gender and source of wealth between July 2013 and July 2014.

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Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.