UBS reports huge wealth generated by China, warns against trade tensions

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-27 15:19:01|Editor: Li Xia
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NEW YORK, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Swiss investment bank UBS recognized China's increasing role in wealth generation due to rigorous innovation and entrepreneurship in its 2018 annual Billionaires Insights report released on Friday.

The report, jointly published by UBS Global Wealth Management and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was titled "New Visionaries and the Chinese Century," in which Chinese entrepreneurs are hailed as the "vanguard of a new industrial revolution."

According to the report, the number of world billionaires increased from 1,979 in 2016 to 2,158 in 2017 with total wealth owned growing by 19 percent to 8.9 trillion U.S. dollars.

In particular, China added 55 billionaires last year, increasing its total to 373, with combined wealth jumping 39 percent to 1.12 trillion dollars, primarily driven by robust e-commerce and promising technology businesses.

By UBS' estimation, 30 percent of the 199 new self-made entrepreneurs worldwide in 2017 accumulated their wealth through innovation and business model disruption.

Some 89 Chinese entrepreneurs became billionaires for the first time in 2017, compared with 30 entrepreneurs in the United States.

Moreover, China produced 50 unicorns from 2016 to 2018, slightly behind the United States' 62.

The report highlights the role of Chinese structural changes in generating wealth while the United States continues to boast the biggest wealth concentration powered by technology, consumer and retail sectors.

However, the report also estimated that if the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China escalates to an all-out trade war, both countries could see significantly lower economic growth before policy responses.

Equities in the United States and Asian countries excluding Japan may fall by more than 20 percent from their levels in mid-summer of 2018, the report warned.

"We need to consider how a maturing economic cycle could affect investors, including billionaires specifically," Mike Ryan, Americas chief investment officer with UBS Global Wealth Management said.

"We expect the bull market to continue, but we need to pay close attention to global dynamics that could pose disruptions in coming months, such as further rate hikes...and trade disruptions," he added.

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