March 1, 2013 - 09:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A Chinese wealth survey has found that Asia has more billionaires than any other continent, apparently surpassing North America for the first time, The Telegraph reports.
The Hurun Report, compiled by British accountant and former Forbes Rich List researcher Rupert Hoogewerf, found that Asia had 608 dollar billionaires, compared with North America's 440 and 324 in Europe.
It is believed to be the first time Asia has been named as home of the largest proportion of super-rich on any global list.
Nonetheless the U.S., which has 409 billionaires, retains its crown as the most populous country for the so-called 'nine-zero' club, while Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim was named the "planet's richest man" with a personal wealth of $66bn, according to the report. Slim also topped last year's Forbes global list.
China ranked second with 317 super-rich individuals, which the report noted were "all self-made" and, with an average age of 58, were on the younger end of the spectrum. The Sino super-rich make their billions predominantly from real estate, manufacturing and investments, said the report. Seven of the top 20 real estate tycoons on the list live in China, a stat it attributed to the urbanisation boom in recent years.
The UK, where the index found 56 billionaires, came fifth, only just ahead of India, which is home to 53 billionaires.
Hong Kong real estate tycoon Li Ka-Shing kept his title of Asia's richest man with $32 billion, ranking him the seventh wealthiest person in the world, while 98-year-old Taiwanese glass magnate Lin Yu-Chia shared a podium with current patriarch of the U.S.'s Rockefeller dynasty, David Rockefeller Sr as the oldest billionaires worldwide.
Zong Qinghou, who heads soft-drink producer Wahaha, and Wang Jianlin of property developer Wanda were the only two from mainland China to make it into the top 100.
The report also noted that the Dragon and Horse were the dominant Chinese star signs on the list, which it pointed out also belonged to the globe's two richest men, Carlos Slim and the US financier Warren Buffett respectively.