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For new wealth, look east

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

If you want to know where wealth is expanding, look to the Far East. China just published a list of its richest individuals and, for the first time, hit a record 271 billionaires. Average wealth of the 1,000 individuals on the list is $924 million.

There are 1 million people in China with a net worth of $1.5 million or more, an increase of nearly 10 percent from a year ago.  The wealth is being driven by booming construction and urbanization, according to CNBC. Indeed, the richest individual in China, Liang Wengen (net worth of $11 billion), is the chairman of Sany Group, one of the country's largest manufacturers of construction equipment.

The U.S. is still ahead of China in the number of millionaires it produces, according to the 2010 Cap Gemini Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report, but the rapid pace of today's global economy could mean that China surpasses the U.S. quickly. The author of a new book, "Eclipse," argues that China's economy will outpace America's by 2030.

Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics predicts in his book that China will account for more than 23 percent of world GDP, or gross domestic product, by 2030, while America will account for less than 12 percent. He believes that because its economy will expand faster, China will outpace America in trade as well. Booming construction and increased demand for imports and exports could create a very favorable environment for the wealthy to increase their riches.

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