The total wealth of billionaires across the globe increased 17% in 2016 to $6 trillion, with Asia accounting for the highest number of billionaires, according to a report by UBS and PwC.
The UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2017 revealed with 637 billionaires Asia surpassed US for the first time which is home to 563 billionaires.
The number of new billionaires was the highest in China, with 101 entering the ranks. In other key Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, this number was found to surge by nearly 30%.
The combined wealth of billionaires in Asia surged from $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion in 2016. Majority of the billionaires in this region were found to take their companies public compared to their western counterparts and most of the entrepreneurs in this region, mainly the Chinese, were found to list young companies quickly.
In 2016, 63% of Asian 568 billionaire-linked companies were found to be publicly listed, compared to only 37% of the 421 US companies and 40% of the 256 companies in Europe.
However, US continued to maintain the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, with wealth of billionaires in this region growing from $2.4 trillion to $2.8 trillion in 2016.
In Europe, the number of billionaires was static with 24 new billionaires joining the ranks and 21 dropping off.
The study also found billionaires across the globe becoming more engaged in the arts and increasingly investing in sports clubs.
Globally, 72 billionaires joined the list of top 200 art collectors in the world in 2016 compared to only 28 billionaires in 1995. US topped the list in this regard with 42 art collectors. In Asia, the number of art collectors increased to 14 in 2016 as against only 1 in 2006.
UBS head of global ultra high net worth Josef Stadler said: “This year we have seen not only a return to growth for billionaire wealth, but also a significant shift in its geographic dimensions. Dramatic growth in Asian wealth shows it could overtake the US in just four years.”