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In 2017, two out of three new super wealthy individuals a week in Asia were Chinese, keeping the region's 814-strong cohort above their 715 United States counterparts for a second year in a row.

'In 2017, they equalled America's level of venture capital funding for start-ups, registered four times as many Artificial-Intelligence-related patents and three times as many blockchain and crypto-related patents as their U.S. counterparts'. "They are creating jobs and prosperity, but their impact goes beyond economics". "Twelve years ago, the world's most populous country was home to only 16 billionaires", the report said.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high-net-worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, called the growth "astonishing" at a launch event in London on Friday.

The country made two billionaires every week during that period, with 199 billionaires created across the world in total, according to the 2018 UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights Report. Today, three decades after the government first allowed the emergence of private enterprise, there are 373 billionaires, one in five from a global perspective. "They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors", said Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific ultra-high net worth at UBS wealth management.

While the US holds the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, China is quickly catching up, and the APAC region could soon surpass the Americas.

The report said that globally, self-made billionaires have driven 80 per cent of the 40 main breakthrough innovations over the last 40 years.

Of all Chinese billionaires, 97 percent are self-made.

It said: 'China's billionaire entrepreneurs are leading their country's economic transformation, and by extension that of the rest of Asia. We have also found that Next Gen billionaires are extremely entrepreneurial.

UBS notes that 40 of the 179 new billionaires created previous year inherited their wealth, an overwhelming number of which are men.

"Opportunities in new emerging industries and technologies turn out to be very important, so much so that the downward shift in China's real GDP growth since the global financial crisis has not been a significant hindrance to billionaire creation", said Wyatt.

North and Latin America lagged the world's growth rates, with an increase in assets of 12 percent - reaching a total of $3.6 trillion.

In 2017, India's billionaires grew from 19 to 119, while their wealth increased by 36 per cent to US$440 billion.

If current trends hold, Asian billionaires' wealth will surpass that of their American counterparts in three years.