By Paul Chung
Image credit: @b80399.
The world’s wealth is headed east. Asia now houses more billionaires than any other continent for the first time ever.
According to the 2013 Global Rich List published by Hurun Report, a leading Chinese magazine, Asia is home to 608 billionaires, ahead of North America and Europe, with 440 and 320 respectively.
However, on a country by country basis, the United States’ 409 billionaires still eclipses China’s 317 billionaires. The two nations account for one half of the world’s estimated 1,453 billionaires.
Most of the wealthy Asian billionaires on the list worked in the real estate industry. Hong Kong businessman and real estate tycoon, Li Ka-Shing, was ranked the richest person in Asia with a net worth of $32 billion.
The billionaires list, however, is believed to be incomplete. Many wealthy Asians opt to keep a low profile or misrepresent their earnings, especially if they accumulated their wealth through illegal means.
“For every billionaire that Hurun Report has found, I estimate we have missed at least two, meaning that today there are probably 4,000 billionaires in the world,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief reporter of the Hurun Report.
The Hurun survey’s findings rather contradicts a similar Forbes magazine report from last year, which found 315 billionaires in the Asia-Pacific region and 450 in North America. Unless Asia really did nearly double its number of billionaires in one year, that is.