The world’s richest people made more money than ever before a year ago

Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates

In particular, China added 55 billionaires past 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.

The United States, however, retains the greatest amount of billionaire wealth as the wealthiest individuals live there.

'But this is just the beginning.

BILLIONAIRE wealth posted its "greatest ever" increase past year, rising 19 per cent to US$8.9 trillion, thanks to robust growth in the Asia-Pacific - in particular, China.

UBS, the largest wealth management firm in the world, banks one out of every two billionaires.

Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific ultra high-net-worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: "Asia's billionaires are young and relentless".

The number of billionaires in Singapore has remained stable at 22, with just one new addition - Min-Liang Tan, co-founder of gaming hardware company Razer Inc. Asia has 711 billionaires, compared to 631 in North America.

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Almost a third of the new billionaires gained their wealth through some form of innovation, while the rest did so by scaling up businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, the report noted. Asia is home to 814 billionaires, who grew their net worth by a third to US$2.7 trillion, driven mainly by China; Chinese billionaires' wealth expanded by 39 per cent to US$1.12 trillion. In 2017, the United States created 53 new billionaires, compared with 87 five years ago.

Asian billionaires are the youngest globally, with an average age of 61.43. They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors'. "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalise on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise".

"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.

"A major wealth transition has begun", the report said. Billionaires are responsible for 80% of the 40 most significant innovations over the last 40 years and last year, billionaires alone employed a larger workforce than the whole of the UK. "Over the past five years (2012-2017), the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year", the UBS report concludes.

"Billionaires are embracing sustainable investing". This was largely due to currency appreciation in the euro versus the dollar.

These mega-rich increased their wealth by a $1.4 trillion which is more than the entire GDP of Spain or Australia.

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