According to the 2018 "Billionaire Insights" report by PwC and UBS, there were 2,158 billionaires in 2017 having an average wealth of $4.1 billion, with overall wealth increasing $1.4 trillion to $8.9 trillion.
And according to Castor Pang Wai-sun, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi, more caution resulting from uncertainty surrounding the trade war and potentially less spending power could harm the growth of billionaires even further.
Global billionaire growth of 19 percent was lower than growth in the MSCI World Index, which rose by 25 percent.
However, female billionaires remain a small minority, making up just 11 percent of the total, and for some the report highlighted growing inequality. Their assets increased by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.
More than 300 Chinese companies went public past year, unlocking what UBS deems "stealth wealth", the difficult-to-measure wealth of people in private markets with little transparency.
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A worker cleans a Tesla Model S sedan before an event April 22, 2014, to deliver the first set of cars to customers in Beijing. The Model S was among 12 models to lose a Consumer Reports recommendation as a result of the reliability survey.
China's 400 wealthiest people have already lost a combined US$130 billion from their fortunes in the past year, according to Forbes' 2018 China Rich List, published on Thursday. "But this is just the beginning", said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.
About 97% of China's billionaires are self-made, with the majority working in sectors such as tech or retail.
The US still leads regionally, with 585 billionaires, but wealth creation in the region is slowing.
Younger billionaires are the driving force behind a growth in philanthropy and sustainable investing, as they use their wealth to create positive social impact. "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalise on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise".
A burgeoning tech industry and startup culture that's poised to challenge Silicon Valley has been the engine for much of China's wealth creation, according to the report, which noted that China produced nearly three times as many self-made billionaires as the USA past year. Far from being a Wild West with little or no controls, China's government is looking closely at how business is evolving and what the successful entrepreneurs are doing with their money.