How many Chinese millionaires is enough?

How many Chinese millionaires is enough?

The Hurun Wealth Report reveals that China is closing in on the 1 million millionaires mark
1 million Chinese millionaires
What's fueling the Chinese millionaire boom? Two words for you: real estate. In this housing development in China, a European-style villa costs about RMB 3 million, and people are snapping them up.

With about 1.4 billion people in China, it’s no surprise that a number of them are rich. But the Hurun Wealth Report released this week shows that the world’s most populous country is closing in on the one million U.S. dollar millionaire mark -- 960,000 millionaires with personal wealth of RMB 10 million or more, to be exact.

That’s up almost 10 percent from last year, when the number came in at 875,000 people.

The key drivers in China’s wealth grab? Rising property prices (in Shanghai high-end property prices went up 21 percent since 2010) and GDP growth, according to the report, which is in its third year.

Just more than half -- 55 percent -- on the list got there due to wealth from private businesses.

From the report, we can see that the rich people are concentrated in more developed eastern regions, while the rest, especially in the vast western area, have been left behind.— Zhong Dajun, director of the Beijing Dajun Economy Observer Institute

Although real estate was also a major driver of wealth accumulation over the last year, the government has taken steps to curb property speculation and control rocketing housing prices. "The overall confidence of China's millionaires in the property sector and China's overall economy remains very high," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report.

Of the 960,000 millionaires, 60,000 have been identified as China's “super rich” with assets valued at RMB 100 million or more, up nine percent from 2010.

Beijing boasts the top spot with just over 10,000 “super rich” residents, followed by Guangdong Province with 9,000 and Shanghai municipality with 7,800.

So who is the typical Chinese millionaire? While those with the hefty bank accounts in other countries tend to err on the side of gray hairs, this is not the case in China as the average Chinese millionaire is 39 years old -- 15 years younger than people in similar wealth brackets in the West -- and they live in Eastern China.

"From the report, we can see that the rich people are concentrated in more developed eastern regions, while the rest, especially in the vast western area, have been left behind," said Zhong Dajun, director of the Beijing Dajun Economy Observer Institute, to the state-run Global Times.

Even with all of these statistics, the Hurun report writers acknowledge that of the 200 people in China with assets of RMB 10 billion or more, only 97 of them are known to the public, leaving what the company has deemed “hidden wealth” -- adding up to a total of RMB 5.7 trillion -- in the hands of undisclosed individuals.

A borough-bred Manhattanite, editor and writer Jessica Beaton lived in Shanghai for five years and has now moved to Hong Kong.

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