North America rebounds to top Asia in 'wealthiest' list
By Kelvin Chan, APHONG KONG -- Some 300,000 people joined Asia's millionaire ranks last year, according to a world wealth report released Wednesday, which also found that the region slipped behind a rebounding North America.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The report by CapGemini and Royal Bank of Canada is the latest of several recent surveys highlighting the strong rise in the region's wealthy while also hinting at persistent inequality.
The survey found that the number of Asian millionaires grew 9.4 percent in 2012 to 3.68 million people, up from 3.37 million the year before, and their combined wealth rose 12.2 percent to US$12 trillion.
Economic growth, strong stock markets, rising property prices and the region's high savings rates helped boost fortunes.
The report defines wealthy as those with at least US$1 million in liquid assets. It covered 10 Asian countries and territories including China, Japan, Australia and South Korea.
Asia was surpassed only by North America, where the millionaire population grew 11.5 percent to 3.73 million with combined wealth rising 9.8 percent to US$12.7 trillion.
Asia's millionaire population outnumbered Europe's for the first time in 2009, and in 2011 it edged out North America for top spot, according to previous editions of the report. The report's authors forecast that Asia would reclaim its crown as soon as 2014.
The superrich, defined as those worth at least US$30 million, grew even faster than the millionaire population at large. Their ranks in Asia grew 15.4 percent last year to 25,000 while combined wealth rose 18 percent, about double the global average.