Financial News

Life’s Luxuries Cost a Packet for Wealthy Asians

Wealthy Asians will number around 3 million and have combined assets exceeding US$16.7 trillion by 2015 – with around half living in China, according to research by a private Swiss bank.

The Julius Baer Bank also forecasts Indonesia will have the fastest growing Asian economy, surging forward by around 25% in the next  three years.

However, although the wealthy are getting richer in Asia while more swell the ranks, the cost of living is surging as well.

The bank also published a lifestyle index based on a ‘basket’ of 20 luxury brands for sale in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Mumbai.

Fees for Oxford University recorded the biggest leap in prices – up more than 18% from US$51,016 to US$60,363.

Louboutin pumps down at heel

Flying business class return from London to New York costs expats an average of $7,211 across the four cities, up 18%.

Not all prices went up – fashionable Louboutin pumps for women dropped by 6.1% to $1,753 a pair,  while golf club membership fell 1.5%.

The survey also revealed how local inflation and taxes can affect prices between each city.

A Mercedes 500 SEL sports car costs $229,832 in Hong Kong, but taxes add  $170,000 if bought in Singapore – making the same car’s price $399,000.

Going to the dentist is 10 times cheaper in Shanghai than Hong Kong, but legal fees double in Shanghai compared to Hong Kong.

Mumbai is the cheapest city to buy a Steinway grand piano, costing $150,521, more than $100,000 cheaper than in Shanghai where music lovers pay $250,500 for the instrument.

Drop in number of billionaires

Boris Collardi, CEO Bank Julius Baer, said:  “We talk to leading business leaders in Asia about the key issues influencing their lifestyles, businesses and investments on a daily basis. The report is a unique view of wealth, both top down from our research, and bottom up, from our conversations with those who are at the forefront of the growth of wealth their countries.”

Meanwhile, Chinese magazine Hurun recently calculated that the number of billionaires in the country decreased by 20 to 251, while nearly 50% of the 1,000 richest Chinese people have seen their wealth shrink  by as much as 50%.

Another recent report looking at Asian high net worth individuals from RBC Wealth Management and Capgemini predicted the region had a HNWI population of 3.4 million last year, holding combined assets of $10.7 trillion.

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