The UAE has for the first time broken into the world’s top 20 list of countries with the highest concentration of ultra-rich residents, with its billionaire population jumping by more than 30 per cent in one year.
A total of 21 individuals with at least $1 billion are now living in the UAE, up from just 16 a year earlier, making the country one of the biggest billionaire capitals in the world, according to a new report by Hurun Research Institute.
The growth in ultra-rich population has likely been triggered by increased migration of residents with huge bank accounts and assets into UAE.
Last year alone, India saw 32 billionaires left, of which the UAE, UK and USA were the preferred destinations.
The China-based private research firm has been tracking billionaires’ fortunes in US dollars for the past six years.
Overall, China trumped the United States for the second year running, as the Asian country saw 41 new billionaires to reach a total of 609. Most billionaires in China are living in Beijing, accounting for 94 individuals, also the highest in the world.
Among the cities monitored, New York remained a favourite haven for the rich, ranking second overall, followed by Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Moscow in the top five.
The report also indicated that super wealthy residents are growing their fortunes at a “supercharged” rate, as the number of billionaires globally reached 2,257, up 55 per cent from five years ago.
Total wealth went up by 16 per cent to $8 trillion, which is equivalent to 10.7 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product and up from 7 per cent of the global GDP five years ago.
“Global wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the billionaires at a rate far exceeding growth,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun report.
While more than 2,000 billionaires have been accounted for so far, the actual number could be higher. “The world today has 5,000 dollar billionaires, assuming that for every one we have found, we have missed at least one,” Hoogewerf.
“While some billionaires go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their wealth, for the most part it is that they are discreet and prefer operating under the radar.”
According to another high-net-worth-individuals tracker, New World Wealth, the UAE has been seeing an increase in the influx of wealthy residents, as security issues in a number of countries around the world are driving away the ultra-wealthy.