Global billionaires up by 40 per cent in five years

But billionaire wealth dropped by 4.3 per cent in 2018, with technology the only industry showing an increase


The number of the world’s billionaires has increased by 38.9 per cent over five years to 2,101. Over the period from the end of 2013 there were 589 more billionaires globally, according to UBS’s 2019 Billionaire Insights report.

Over these five years billionaire wealth grew by more than a third (34.5 per cent), reaching a total of $8.5 trillion (£6.6tn, €7.7tn).

But in 2018 billionaire wealth dropped by 4.3 per cent, or $388 billion, in the face of a strong US dollar, trade friction, economic fears and financial market volatility.

The number of female billionaires increased by almost half (46 per cent), rising from 160 to 233. The number of men went up 39 per cent.

Technology was the only industry where billionaire wealth increased in 2018, rising 3.4 per cent to $1.3 trillion. The net wealth of tech tycoons has almost doubled, growing 91.4 per cent.

China’s entrepreneurs have become the world’s second largest billionaire group over the past five years, overtaking Russia’s. Their wealth almost tripled, growing by 202.6 per cent to reach $982.4 billion.

But in 2018, their net worth declined by 12.3 per cent. The number of Chinese billionaires fell by 48 to 325.

American billionaires were the only ones who did not suffer a dip in 2018, with their wealth increasing 0.1 per cent. As of year-end 2018, America was home to some 749 billionaires with a combined wealth of $3.6 trillion.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the billionaire population fell 5 per cent to 598 individuals, with combined wealth totalled $2.4 trillion.

FURTHER READING: Alibaba founder tops Forbes China Rich List

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