The number of super rich in Asia is the focus of the film Crazy Rich Asians that hit the box office this month.
This is clearly reflected in any of the shopping malls in Singapore – the place of the movie, where the best luxury brands of the world such as Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton can be found in plenty.
It is the same for many other cities in the region.
But there is also a growing inequality in the region that was once believed to be a model of equitable growth.
Currently, the Asia-Pacific has more super-rich than in North America and Europe according to Oxfam.
While this region has the largest number of millionaires and billionaires of the world, it also is the place of where almost two-thirds of the working poor live.
“Wealth inequality has reached alarming levels in a number of countries in the region,” said Mustafa Talpur, who heads the inequality campaign in Asia for Oxfam.
According to Forbes, the greatest number of mega rich still resides in the US with 585 billionaires compared to 373 in Mainland China.
But according to Oxfam’s analysis of data from Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2017, when the entire of the Asia-Pacific region is considered there are more billionaires then the US at 600.
Additionally, the largest number of high net worth people in the world is also present in the Asia-Pacific region. These are people own more than $1m over and above the value of their main residence. According a Capgemini report from 2018, there are 34.1% of the total high net worth people of the world in this region compared to 31.3% in North America.
Additionally, the region also has 30.8% of the total net wealth of these people compared to 28.2% for North America.
While the annual growth rate in China between 2008 and 2012 was 8% and 11% while this was also the time when the financial crisis was rocking the US and the eurozone.
“This strong growth through the years has been aided by robust GDP and equity markets growth especially in the emerging markets of China and India. Consistent growth in the key mature markets of Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore also has been a contributing factor,” said Chriag Thakral, deputy head of market intelligence at Capgemini in New York.
But the region is also froth with inequalities.
According to Oxfam’s analysis, just 1% of the total population of China owned about 79% of the wealth created in the country while the same number of people in India owned 73% of the wealth generated last year.
The outcome was that 47% of national wealth of China was owned by the top 1% and 45% of India’s wealth was owned by the same top 1% in India in 2017.
(Adapted from BBC.com)