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China home to growing number of billionaires



There are now more billionaires in China, the Middle East region and Russia combined than in the US, Airbus Corporate Jets’ Billionaire Study 2014 reveals.


Conducted by Ledbury Research, it focuses on the characteristics of billionaires in three high-growth regions – Russia, China and the Middle East region, along with their travel trends and purchasing profiles.


According to the report, the number of billionaires in China is expected to be similar to the US by 2017.


Number of Billionaires - USA, China, ME, Russia


With regards to purchases in the Middle East region, where families tend to be more hierarchical, approval by the patriarch is often needed before expensive purchases are made. In Russia, younger billionaires tend to focus more on enjoying their wealth, while, in China, older billionaires focus more on wealth preservation.


When purchasing, influences tend to play a large role in all three regions. In the Middle East region and Russia, boutique luxury brands are often preferred, while, in China, billionaires are influenced more by their surrounding peers and will often make a statement with well-known brands.


The study reveals that newer wealth generations tend to be more international. In the Middle East region, many billionaires are quite westernised and enjoy activities that are not available in their home countries. In Russia, although the current practice is to bring assets back to the home country, billionaires continue to hold assets offshore. In China, individuals are seen as the least international of all three regions, therefore global citizenship is less relevant.


“When billionaires travel, they want to retain the ability to have whatever they want, as they do at home. They are used to living in a certain way and they want to continue to do that wherever they are,” says a research interviewee that took part in the study, who wishes to stay anonymous.


The Billionaire Study highlights four main needs of billionaire travellers:

–          Flexibility: Billionaires are spontaneous with their travel plans, changing both destination choices and travel dates regularly. This is especially true in the Middle East region

–          Privacy: Billionaires tend to choose private residences, such as villas at hotels. The need for privacy is also a key driver for a private jet user

–          Familiarity: Billionaires tend to want to maintain an uninterrupted lifestyle when travelling, bringing along their entourage, including household staff, to help them relax

–          Tailored experiences: Billionaires want their experience to be tailor made to suit their personalities, lifestyles and needs


In addition, Middle Eastern and Russian billionaires enjoy travelling to the Mediterranean the most, while Chinese billionaires travel to locations, such as Macao and Singapore, where they are closer to home. Most billionaires choose popular locations that are only four to five hours away by air.


HNWI compared to UHNWI


When billionaires shop for luxury, they look for something different, both in terms of product and service. Billionaires are interested in unique, one-off pieces and exceptional personalised services, the study points out.




Image from Airbus. 

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