China, with now the world's biggest economy, overtook the US this year to become the country with most people in the top 10% of global wealth distribution

By Ian Horswill


Posted on October 22, 2019

There are more rich people living in China than the US for the first time, the Credit Suisse Global wealth report 2019 revealed.

The Credit Suisse Global wealth report found that 100 million Chinese are now in the top 10% of global wealth, compared to 99 million Americans who are in the top decile.

“China’s progress has enabled it to replace Europe as the principal source of global wealth growth and to replace Japan as the country with the second-largest number of millionaires. More tellingly, China overtook the United States this year to become the country with most people in the top 10% of global wealth distribution,” Credit Suisse said in its report.

China’s economy has enjoyed 30 years of explosive growth, seeing it become the world’s largest. The economic growth has seen the likes of Ma Huateng (aka Pony Ma), CEO and founder of Tencent, Asia’s most valuable company and one of the world’s largest Internet and technology companies, become the country’s richest man with, according to Forbes, a net wealth of US$38.8 billion. Jack Ma, former CEO and founder of ecommerce business Alibaba, is the second richest man in China with an estimated net wealth of US$37.2 billion.

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Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma
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The explosion in the cost of real estate has seen the likes of Xu Jiayin (US$36.2 billion), Wang Jianlin (US$22.6 billion) and Yang Huiyan (US$22.1 billion) also make the top five wealthiest people in China.

However “the United States also accounts for 40% of dollar millionaires worldwide and for 40% of those in the top 1% of global wealth distribution,” the Credit Suisse Global wealth report found.

The Credit Suisse Global wealth report found that aggregate global wealth rose by US$9.1 trillion, or 2.6%, to US$360.6 trillion and that the richest 10% own 82% of global wealth and the top 1% alone own 45% of global wealth.

Globally, there are 1.1 million new millionaires for a total of 46.8 million. More than 60% of those new millionaires are American, while China and Japan each contributed just under 14% of the world’s new millionaires.

“Comparing total wealth gains and losses across the most important countries, the United States (US$3.8 trillion) again leads the way by a considerable margin, continuing an astonishing spell that has seen wealth per adult increase each year since 2008 (however, even the United States is not immune to temporary blips: wealth per adult fell by 2% during the latter half of 2018, then recovered during the first half of 2019).

China (US$1.9 trillion) is in second place again, followed by Japan (US$930 billion), India (US$625 billion), and Brazil (US$312 billion),” the Credit Suisse Global wealth report states.

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Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man with an estimated net worth of over US$150 billion.

“The main losses occurred in Australia (down US$443 billion), Turkey (down US$257 billion) and Pakistan (down US$141 billion).

“Viewed in terms of wealth per adult, Switzerland tops the winners (up US$17,790) followed by the United States (up US$11,980), Japan (up US$9,180) and the Netherlands (up US$9,160). The main loser was Australia (down
US$28,670), with other significant losses in Norway (down US$7,520), Turkey (down US$5,230) and Belgium (down US$4,330).”

The ranking by median wealth per adult showed the top country to be Switzerland (US$227,890), with Australia (US$181,360) second, Hong Kong (US$146,890) third, and Belgium (US$117,090) fourth.