On Thursday, Merrill Lynch released a report stating that the number of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region has now surpassed that of Europe. The 15th annual World Wealth Report, done by Merrill Lynch’s wealth management division and consultancy Capgemini, compiled its findings by crunching in numbers of individuals worth $1 million or more, excluding properties and other collectibles.
As of 2010, North America remains in top place, where the number of wealthy increased 8.6% to 3.4 million. The Asia-Pacific region securing second place with 3.3 million millionaires, and finally Europe in third with 3.1 million.
What is perhaps the most shocking thing is the rate of growth in Asia. In Hong Kong and Vietnam respectively, the annual growth of million populations was a whopping 33%. Other Asian countries that also contributed to the rapid growth include Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore and India.
Having said that, Asia also had a larger proportion of young millions aged 30 or under, with 3%; while all other regions had only 2% or less.
Some experts believe that it’s just a matter of time before Asia will top North America in the number of the rich, and it is very possible that this could happen soon.
The findings of this report imply a number of things. However, before the people of Asia celebrate their success with a bottle of Möet, they should remember that parts of their “prospering” continent remains one of the most polarized places in the world in terms of wealth.