China's rich to get even richer this year

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The Chinese believe the Lunar New Year is about ushering in luck and fortune, and this year may be particularly prosperous for the country's wealthiest, according to research firm WealthX.

The year of the Green Wooden Goat, which kicks off on Thursday, could see Chinese ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals - those with $30 million in net assets - get even richer.

"The combined net worth of China's UHNW individuals will grow by 5.2 percent, due to a strong performance across all UHNW wealth tiers - creating an additional $80 billion of UHNW wealth in the country," WealthX said in a new report on Monday.

In 2014, China's UNHW wealth stood at $1.6 trillion, or roughly 7.3 percent of the country's total wealth.

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Meanwhile, the bottom tier of the UHNW group, or those with a net worth between $30 and $49 million, will grow by 8.5 percent, WealthX noted, riding on the wave of China's growing middle class boom and increased social mobility.

Some trends that could be observed in the Chinese wealth population this year, according to WealthX, include:

  • More charitable attitudes, with WealthX expecting a 24 percent increase in the number of private foundations set up by Chinese UHNW individuals, compared with just 5 percent currently.
  • Money made in public businesses will outstrip private wealth this year, as co-operation between Chinese stock exchanges translate to an additional $45 billion held in public companies, compared to $20 billion in private firms.
  • China's crackdown on excessive luxury spending will dent luxury spending among the rich by 4 percent this year and see more millionaires spend their money abroad to avoid the attention of officials.
  • Loosening capital controls will also see more funds invested abroad: "Chinese UHNW individuals will invest on average 5 percent more of their net worth in foreign businesses, amounting to an additional $7 million per individual," WealthX said.
  • First-tier cities in China - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou - will continue holding the majority of UNHW money at around 60 percent.
  • Lastly, China will become more attractive to global millionaires. The luxury intelligence firm anticipates the number of foreign-born UHNW individuals to increase by 40 percent this year.

UHNW individuals born in the Year of the Goat have an average net worth of $155 million, which is 10 percent more than the global UHNW average, WealthX stated. However, they aren't the richest among their zodiac peers, ranking third behind Dragon and Ox UHNW individuals.

"Goats" are known for their determination and dependable personality, WealthX said, and the typically work in finance, banking and investment.

More than 8 percent of the global UHNW population was born in the Year of the Goat, making it the fourth most common Zodiac sign in the sector. Currently, half of the world's wealthy "Goats" reside in the United States and 7 percent live in China.

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