ASIA may be minting the most billionaires these days, but the fortunes held by the very richest are shrinking.
The region’s 120 wealthiest people have collectively lost $99 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. By comparison, the 173 richest Americans have gained $132 billion.
The 56 billionaires on the index from China and Hong Kong are responsible for 67 percent of the losses, having shed an average of $1.2 billion each since the start of the year.
They’re led by Dalian Wanda Group Co.’s Wang Jianlin, China’s once-richest man, whose wealth has plunged by $9.3 billion as his conglomerate has sold assets to pare debt. He’s followed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma, who’s lost $9.2 billion as shares of the instant messaging giant have tumbled by almost a quarter.
Asian stocks are in the longest sell-off since 2002. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has declined almost $700 billion in value this year, while the Shanghai composite index has fallen 20 percent amid trade war tensions. China is bracing for another potential round of tariffs on $467 billion goods in the coming months.
Outside of Asia, 2018 has been relatively prosperous for the world’s richest. The combined fortunes of the other 380 moguls on the Bloomberg Index have climbed 2.7 percent since January, with Jeff Bezos leading the way. The Amazon.com, Inc. founder’s wealth has swelled by $64.7 billion — double the size of Pony Ma’s entire net worth — to $163.8 billion. — Bloomberg