The number of Taiwanese billionaires rose from 31 to 35 last year, with five new entrants from financial services, materials, technology and manufacturing, a report published yesterday by UBS Group AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said.
The total wealth of Taiwan’s billionaires increased 12 percent to US$84.4 billion last year, weaker than the global increase of 19 percent to US$8.9 trillion propelled by bull markets across the world.
“Twenty-four of the billionaires are self-made and 11 have inherited their wealth,” PwC managing director Ryan Lee (李潤之) said while presenting the findings during a news conference in Taipei.
That means self-made billionaires made up 69 percent of the total in Taiwan, higher than 60 percent in emerging markets and 68 percent in the US, Lee said.
The average age of local billionaires, defined as those owning at least US$1 billion in bankable assets, is 69, and all of them were male, the report said.
The local tradition of passing family business to sons probably explains the absence of female billionaires, Lee said, adding that it also suggests room for female entrepreneurs to reshape the landscape.
The self-made billionaires owned US$53.9 billion of assets, while the multi-generational billionaires held US$30.5 billion, the report showed.
The top three wealth-driving industries in Taiwan were consumer and retail, financial services and technology, where billionaires increased their wealth by US$7.7 billion, or 84 percent of the wealth growth, it said.
The rapid pace of wealth creation presents an opportunity for UBS, which focuses on investment, succession planning, philanthropy and family legacy matters, UBS Taiwan head of ultra-high net worth Peggy Cheng (鄭柏琦) said.
The banking group already has a relationship with three out of five billionaires in Asia, which is home to 814 billionaires, or 38 percent of the world’s most wealthy, Cheng said.
The number of Chinese billionaires increased to 373 from 319 and Chinese entrepreneurs made up 60 percent of new entrants in the region, the report said, adding that their total wealth soared 39 percent to US$1.12 trillion, outpacing global growth.
The top three wealth-driving industries in China were technology, real estate, and consumer and retail, it said.
“China’s young entrepreneurs are set to swell the ranks of China’s billionaires for years to come,” the report said.
They are leveraging technology to revolutionize the country’s services sector and grow businesses in areas such as artificial intelligence and healthcare, supported by rapid urbanization and productivity, it said.
Globally, billionaires are channeling their passion for environmental and social change as professionals in family foundations, with wives and daughters increasingly assuming senior roles, the report said.
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