High-rise buildings and skyscrapers dominate the skyline of the Huangpu River and the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Shanghai. (Photo: Sipa)
China now has the second-largest billionaire group worldwide, despite COVID-19 putting a dent in global wealth accumulation, according to a recent report.
Among the 2,189 billionaires identified by UBS and consultancy PwC by the end of July, 415 were from China. This represents a historical high reading that makes the country second only to the United States in terms of the number of people whose assets are worth at least $1 billion.
Total billionaire wealth reached a record $10.2 trillion at the end of July 2020, of which China contributed 17 percent.
Between 2019 and 2020, health industries, materials, and entertainment and media, represented by online gaming, fueled the most growth of wealth accumulation in China.
Notably, a total of 26 new entrants made it to the Chinese billionaire list during the pandemic. They were mostly engaged in the above-mentioned sectors.
"The pandemic and volatile markets have not stopped China's billionaires from creating wealth," said Marina Lui, head of Wealth Management at UBS China. "The number of Chinese billionaires has once again set a new record, and innovators and disruptors with positive social values gain a wealth effect."
While the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the economy, the innovators and disruptors will gain more competitive advantages by using the emerging technologies, said Harry Qin, consulting leader of Banking, Securities & Asset Management of the Chinese mainland at PwC.
The study also forecast eight technologies, from artificial intelligence and augmented reality to block chain and internet of things, to be essential to future disruptive growth that could potentially propel wealth accumulation over the next three to five years.