Billionaires report 2018

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Billionaires Insights report: New Visionaries and the Chinese Century. Billionaires are at the vanguard of a new industrial revolution which is harnessing the great power of technology to disrupt old industries and create new ones.

The report draws on UBS and PWC’s extensive client network and access to data, and aims to promote a deeper understanding of the billionaire population globally.

    Name of country

      Total number of billionaires


      Compare years

        Self made billionaires


          Total drop outs




              Total wealth


              Compare years

                  Billionaire data 2014

                  Total number of billionaires


                  Wealth Development

                  • 2.8trAmericas
                  • 2.1trAPAC
                  • 1.2trEMEA
                  • 1.2trMSCI ACWI
                  • Wealth development in USD by selected year.

                  Total wealth

                  • 2.8trSelf
                  • 2.1trMulti-

                  Growth driving in industries

                  • 2.8trTechnology
                  • 2.1trConsumer and retail
                  • 1.2trReal estate

                  Selected countries total wealth

                  • 256US
                  • 277RUSSIA
                  • 502CHINA



                  Leading innovators

                  Billionaires have driven almost 80% of the 40 main breakthrough innovations over the last 40 years. Approximately 70% are technology-related and 80% of the companies behind them are based in the Americas, with 20% in APAC.


                  The vanguard of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

                  One hundred and ninety-nine entrepreneurs became billionaires for the first time in 2017 – some of them in the vanguard of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.


                  The China phenomenon

                  Globally, billionaire wealth increased by USD 1.4 trillion to USD 8.9 trillion in 2017, its greatest absolute growth ever, with China minting 2 billionaires a week.


                  Shenzhen challenges Silicon Valley

                  A new cohort of Chinese entrepreneurs is challenging Silicon Valley, amid rising tensions over trade and intellectual property. With 50 unicorns produced in China and 62 in the US, the Chinese are proving restless innovators and disruptors.


                  From the family business to business families

                  As the next generation of sons and daughters grows up, there is rising entrepreneurial spirit in billionaire families across the world.


                  Leading 21st Century families forward

                  New multigenerational families are being created, recognizing the need to plan for succession. In 2017 alone, 44 heirs inherited more than a billion dollars each (56% Americas, 28% EMEA, 16% APAC), totalling USD 189 billion.


                  New wealth, new impact

                  While sustainable investing is becoming mainstream, as millennials assume roles in family offices and philanthropic organizations the trend is likely to grow stronger.


                  China’s young entrepreneurs set for multi-year growth

                  China’s young entrepreneurs are set to swell the ranks of the world’s billionaires for years to come.

                  Looking ahead

                  As the risks for the global economy appear to be rising, the risks for businesses and asset values, including those belonging to billionaires. If US/China trade tensions escalate to an all-out war, UBS foresees significantly lower economic growth in both countries before policy responses. US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by more than 20% from their mid-summer 2018 levels.

                  Near-term outlook:

                  • With the world’s largest population, an explosion of tech innovation and increased productivity, China will continue to rapidly produce billionaires—the next generation of billionaire entrepreneurs.
                  • Greater uncertainty lies ahead for the global economy, triggered by trade tension between the U.S. and China.
                  • We’re in unchartered territory: we experience the longest bull market in modern history and a record economic expansion in the making.