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Asia Now Has More MIllionaires Than Europe, Closing In On N. America

June 24, 2011 0 Comments

Booming Asia had more millionaires than Europe for the first time last year and is fast closing in on North America for the top spot, a report released Thursday said.

The Asia-Pacific region was home to 3.3 million people in 2010 worth $1 million or more, excluding their homes, an increase of roughly 10 percent from the year before, according to the 15th annual World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch's wealth management division and consultancy Capgemini.

Asia's growth outpaced Europe, where so-called high net worth individuals increased 6 percent to 3.1 million, and puts it within reach of North America, where the number of wealthy rose 8.6 percent to 3.4 million.

The report's findings illustrate how Asia's economies are growing much more quickly than developed countries and, in the process, minting scores of new millionaires and billionaires. Asia's growth has been powered by China and India, whose economies grew 9-10 percent last year while European and North American growth was in the low single digits.

"It is entirely conceivable that Asia would overtake North America in the near future," said Wilson So, a managing director at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. "I would be surprised if that does not happen very soon."

The U.S., Japan and Germany still account for just over half the world's 10.9 million wealthy, while China is in fourth place with 535,000, about 58,000 more than in 2009. Australia has moved up one notch to ninth place, edging out Italy, while India cracked the top 12 for the first time. It replaced Spain, which fell to 14th.

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