DUBAI // The UAE has cracked the top 20 list of countries with the most billionaires for the first time.
The Emirates is home to 21 ultra-rich individuals, giving it a ranking of 19, according to the China-based Hurun Global Rich List 2017.
“The world today has 5,000 dollar billionaires, assuming that for every one we have found we have missed at least one,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun’s chairman and chief researcher.
The UAE along with the UK and US were the preferred destinations for 32 Indian billionaires who migrated from the country last year.
“Billionaires are up again in the last year, on the back of a strong US dollar, which rose 14 per cent on average against major currencies, coupled with strong stock market performances on Nasdaq and London, up 24 per cent and 26 per cent respectively,” said Mr Hoogewerf.
China remains top with 609 billionaires, an increase of 41 on last year, with the US second with 552 an increase of 11.
Germany moved above India into third with 109 after seeing 27 more pople join the ranks of the super wealthy.
India, in fourth with 100, ‘lost’ 11 billionaires mainly due to demonetisation, while Russia dropped to seventh after losing a further 12 billionaires despite a 30 per cent appreciation of the rouble to the dollar.
The average age of those making the list is 64, which is the same as the last three years.
Beijing is the ‘Billionaire Capital of the World’ for the second year running, ahead of New York.
Shenzhen added 16 billionaires to propel it into fourth place, just behind Hong Kong. Seven of the top 20 billionaire capitals are in Greater China.
California is the US state with the most billionaires, of which over half are from the Bay Area.
“Shenzhen and HK now have the highest concentration of wealth in the world, ahead even of California,” said Mr Hoogewerf.
The Microsoft co-founder and world’s richest man Bill Gates saw his wealth increase by 1 per cent and is now valued at US$81 billion
Investor Warren Buffett saw a 15 per cent rise in his wealth but remains second with US$78 billion.
The biggest mover in the individual rankings was American technology and real estate entrepreneur Jeff Bezos who added US$20 billion to his wealth, a 37 per cent increase, which saw his total hit US$72 billion and third place.