With 100 billionaires calling it home, Beijing is the new Billionaire Capital of the World.
The Chinese capital has overtaken New York – home to just 95 – according to new research by Shanghai firm, Hurun, reports Yahoo Finance. Additionally, it was discovered that China is home to proportionally more self-made billionaires than in the US.
“What we showed today is that at the super-wealth creation level, the Chinese are now leading,” says Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of Hurun. “People will look at China the same way that people looked at Stanford or Silicon Valley in the 1990s.”
The impressive growth of Chinese wealth can largely be attributed to the number of initial public offerings allowed by market regulators after a long period of repression, believes Hoogewerf.
The stats also acknowledge the resilience of wealth to the problems experienced in the Chinese stock market and economy last year, where the market tumbled 40 percent in the final six months and the yuan reached its lowest level against the dollar in five years.
But as wealth trickles down through Chinese society, what could this mean for Thailand? Will they abandon the Kingdom for more luxury destinations and investment safe havens?
We think, no. If anything, increased wealth in China is a good thing for Thailand, especially in its tourism market.
The Thai-Chinese relationship is well entrenched with a number of Chinese and their families already living in the Kingdom, and a huge number visiting regularly. Chinese tourists to Thailand are expected to grow by 16 percent over the coming year, according to the Bangkok Post, and already account for around 28 percent of total visitors to the Kingdom.
Thailand offers Chinese visitors a tropical holiday destination with plenty of luxury amenities and lifestyle options, which is both nearby, welcoming and comparatively very affordable. While some Chinese are of course likely to explore more of the wider world with their newfound wealth, many will be happy simply exploring the plethora of travelling opportunities around Asia.
Where Thailand used to focus on attracting the reams of young, Western backpackers, they’re now revolutionising their tourism strategy in order to pull in wealthier, higher-spenders in an attempt to make the country an even more attractive destination to a better calibre of traveller.
Luxury shopping malls line popular tourist areas like Sukhumvit, while further afield in Phuket, a lively yachting scene is growing. Opulent resorts can be found all over the Kingdom while Bangkok is home to a growing number of luxe housing developments seemingly aimed at wealthy foreign buyers.
While Thailand may not be a traditional luxury destination like New York, London and Paris, it still features highly in the Chinese zeitgeist and is evolving to become more attractive to Chinese wealth.
The Chinese love Thailand, and a richer China means good things for the Kingdom.
Featured image is by Philip Roeland and used under a Creative Commons licence