One billionaire created every two days in Asia, study says

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Asia's 637 billionaires outnumbered those in the United States for the first time past year, according to a new report, with China adding the most new billionaires at 101, bringing its total to 318, while Asia overall added 162.

The research analysed 1,542 billionaires worldwide, covering around 80 per cent of global billionaire wealth, meaning the total number may be higher, the report said.

The gain corresponds to an increase twice the 8.5 per cent increase of the MSCI AC World Index, a broad measure of equity-market performance throughout the world. Their increase at, 17.4%, exceeded the global economic growth of 5.8% in 2016. Led by China, Asia saw 63% of its 568 billionaire-linked companies being publicly listed, versus 37% of 421 companies in the USA and 40% in Europe.

'This year has seen not only a return to growth for billionaire wealth, but also a significant shift in its geographic dimensions, ' says Josef Stadler, head of global ultra-high net worth at UBS. The execution of Chinese President Xi Jinping's growth policies will also influence how fast total Asian billionaire wealth overtakes the USA, he said.

Additionally, the total wealth controlled by these billionaires surged by almost 18%, from $5.1 trillion to $6.0 trillion, far outpacing global stock markets that have soared into record territory, per a report by UBS Group Inc.

It is this widespread adoption in Asia that is creating wealth at a much more accelerated pace, he said.

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Billionaires across the world piled on more riches with the ultra-wealthy in Asia now outnumbering the traditional leaders, the U.S., according to research published today. Additionally, most of these billionaires are sole or part owners of companies that directly employ 27.7 million people, about equal to the working population of the U.K., CNBC adds.

The amount of wealth controlled by Chinese billionaires at the end of 2016 rose 36% year-on-year to $804 billion, with each billionaire's treasure chest swelling an average 7% to about $2.5 billion.

As expected in a country with such an entrepreneurial mind set, technology is the biggest driver of wealth creation.

On the other hand, Chang said, a Chinese billionaire's wealth can fluctuate as government policies can change quickly and the nation is awash with aggressive entrepreneurs. 'The societal effect of great wealth is, however, not exclusively economic.

More than 140 top sports clubs around the world are owned by 109 billionaires, who are on average 68 years old with a wealth of US$5b ($7.3b), according to the survey.