(Community Matters) Still trying to wrap my head around this . . . and anticipate the implications of how our money center & investment banks might be persuaded to influence government policy.
In 2004, there were three billionaires on the Hurun list of Chinese billionaires. (The Hurun and Forbes lists are the gold standards when it comes to counting rich Chinese people.) Today there are 354 Chinese billionaires on that list—388 if you include the billionaires in Hong Kong. There are also 60,000 Chinese people worth at least $200 million—another line of demarcation between being wealthy and being a photon cannon of currency.
Now, America is still number one in billionaires with 492. Fuck yeah, America, etc. But Rupert Hoogewerf, the Luxembourg-born man behind the Hurun list, estimated for GQ that even given their relative economic slowdown, the Chinese would overtake us in billionaires in two years. He also said that for every billionaire Hurun knows about in China, they suspect there’s another one they don’t. “Some of them we don’t know about because their wealth is new or they live somewhere remote, and some of them are secretive because they’re government officials or what have you,” Rupert said. But in a world of profound income stagnation (the median income in America is essentially the same as it was fifteen years ago), in a world where more and more money is being concentrated in the hands of the hyper-rich and where most of the hyper-rich have already established their spending patterns and taste preferences—not to mention parked their capital in the banks and companies of their choice—you could argue that the new and soon-to-be billionaires of China are the most important market in the world. If you want to sell things like, say, mega-yachts, China represents close to 100 percent of your potential growth market.