12 June 2010

The Top 10 Countries For Millionaires

Singapore is at the top of the list of the top 10 countries with the greatest proportion of millionaire households. This means that Singapore has 530,000 millionaires! OMFG!

1) Singapore
Population: 4.7 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 11.4%

Who would think the tiny Republic of Singapore would be crammed with so many millionaires? The country, all of just 247 square miles, has emerged from the recession and has rebounded in a big way. Its GDP, exports and manufacturing are all rising, and so, too, are home prices. That has led Singapore to boast the highest concentration of millionaires anywhere on the planet. Among its very rich: Ng Teng Fong, a real estate tycoon, and Wee Cho Yaw, who runs United Overseas Bank, one of Singapore's big lenders.

2) Hong Kong
Population: 7.1 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 8.8%

Hong Kong, the home of Li Ka-shing, who runs conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa, had 205,000 millionaire households in 2009 and takes the number two spot for percentage of millionaire households. Hong Kong's close relationship with mainland China brings benefits and risks, but it's been good for many of the wealthiest, who made their money by investing in a real estate market that has no shortage of swanky hotels and malls.

3) Switzerland
Population: 7.6 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 8.4%

The Swiss economy is recovering from slow growth during the recession, but a good many of its citizens thrived during the upswing, bringing it to third place in percentage of millionaire households. The country boasts 285,000 of them, up 19.5% from 2008. Driving the recovery: manufacturing, rising exports and consumer spending. Among the country's rich: Swiss biotech tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, who is, perhaps, better known for winning the America's Cup in 2003.

4) Kuwait
Population: 2.8 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 8.2%

The rising price of oil has led to more millionaires in this tiny country. With some 100 billion barrels of crude, Kuwait has been growing rapidly. But the oil-dependent nation now plans to spend up to $140 billion over the next five years to diversify away from oil and to attract more investment -- a move that could help it ascend this list's ranks. Such a strategy may help billionaire Nasser Al Kharafi, chairman of one of the most diversified and largest conglomerates in the Arab world. His food division, Americana, has the Middle East franchise rights to KFC, Wimpy, TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut, among others.

5) Qatar
Population: 841,000
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 7.4%

Qatar's economy expanded by about 8.7% last year, thanks to growth in the natural gas business. That helped the country, already the world's largest gas exporter, to emerge from the global economic crisis pretty much unscathed, leaving many of its millionaire households in good stead. Among its megarich: Bader Al Darwish, with a fortune of about $1.7 billion. Al Darwish runs Darwish Holdings, which operates businesses including real estate, investments and retail services.

6) United Arab Emirates
Population: 4.9 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 6.2%

As the world's third-largest oil exporter, the UAE's economic growth is expected to rise to 3.2% this year, after posting a 1.3% increase in 2009,. Like others, its oil business has generated wealth among its citizens. It also helps that UAE isn't expected to suffer from the eurozone debt crisis. The country is home to Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair and his family, who run Mashreqbank and the second-largest flour milling company in the Mideast, as well as megamalls.

7) United States
Population: 310.2 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 4.1%

The 4.7 million U.S. millionaires in 2009 was up by 15.1% over 2008. But as a market percentage, the U.S. falls relatively low on the top 10 list. The country, which is home to two of the world's wealthiest people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, saw its economy bounce back in 2009 from the year before as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40%. By the end of 2009, the economy grew at its fastest pace in more than six years, even though many businesses put the brakes on hiring.

8) Belgium
Population: 10.4 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 3.5%

Suffering from spiraling debt and political problems, Belgium still managed to hold on to a number of millionaires. The country has set a goal of getting its budget deficit to 4.8% of GDP in 2010, which is far below Europe's average. But Belgium's total debt will rise above 100% of GDP, placing it behind only Greece and Italy. The debt crisis in Europe will also likely take a toll on the country's economy in 2010. The good news is that Belgium has a trade surplus, and household savings are high. Among its richest: Albert Frere, who founded the media, utilities and oil conglomerate, Compagnie Nationale a Portefeuille.

9) Israel
Population: 7.4 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 3.3%

Unlike other markets, the story in Israel wasn't about rising real estate values or credit, but about gains in technology, which some say will help lead the country to continued economic growth. While 2009 was a good year for the economy, the current eurozone crisis could hurt Israeli exports because about 33% of them go to Europe. Rich man in Israel: shipping tycoon Sammy Ofer, worth north of $6 billion.

10) Taiwan
Population: 23 million
Percentage of Millionaire Households: 3%

Taiwan may be last on the top 10 list -- but that's still quite a feat. The country was hit hard by the recession mostly because its economy depends on trade. But as the world economy skittishly improves, Taiwanese families have seen their fortunes rise. The country now has some 230,000 millionaire households. That's an increase of 22.1% over 2008. One of its richest is Terry Gou of Foxconn, a maker of electronics for Apple (AAPL), Nokia (NOK), Nintendo and others. That company has been in the news recently because 13 of its workers have committed suicide or tried to.

(Extracted from Daily Finance)

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