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There are now more billionaires in Asia than the US, but Americans own more billions

Jack Ma at Alibaba Singles' Day global shopping festival
Reuters/Bobby Yip
Living the good life.
By Eshe Nelson
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

At the end of last year, there were 1,542 billionaires around the world sitting on a $6 trillion trove of wealth, according to a new report by UBS and PwC. The good news, for them, is that this was up from $5.1 trillion the year before.

And for the first time in history, the report says, there are more billionaires in Asia than in the US:

However, American billionaires still have the most billions. In 2016, US billionaire wealth reached $2.8 trillion, up 15% from the year before. In Asia, the wealth of billionaires added up to to $2 trillion, up from $1.5 trillion in 2015. Three-quarters of the new billionaires last year were from China and India, benefiting from rising commodity and real estate prices. In just four years’ time, UBS and PwC expect Asian billionaires to also overtake the US in total wealth.

Most of the wealth accumulated by billionaires comes from the consumer and retail industries, followed by technology. In 2016, billionaires tied to the materials sector saw the biggest increase in wealth, as a surge in commodity prices filled the pockets of mining and oil barons.

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