Here comes what may be a surprise for some of you:
“The city with the most billionaires is no longer London, or New York – and even Moscow might not make the top place.”
Yep, move on over New York and London because here come…Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, Beijing. You heard it right, these dynamic cities in countries with so called “emerging markets” are growing by leaps and bounds, and so are the bank accounts of some of its residents.
The Chinese billionaires club is growing faster than anywhere else on the planet – remarkable for a country that considered capitalism to be such a dirty word until quite recently.
Yes, capitalism is “evil”, but it sure makes them rich, and all thanks to the voracious appetite of the American consumer who just can’t get enough of cheap Chinese goods. My opinion is that the Chinese are getting the short end of the chopstick (pardon the pun) because the Chinese are giving the Americans real wealth and they get back paper with pictures of dead presidents on them.
The list of dollar billionaires in China has grown from a single member in 1999 to 106 this year, a massive increase on last year’s figure with just fourteen, according to the Hurun China Rich List released last October.
Mental note, must move to China and join their ranks.
And in India, Forbes estimated there are more billionaires than anywhere else in Asia, and at least 14 of them live in the country’s main financial centre, Mumbai.
India, Asia’s roaring economic tiger. Although all the talk is focused on China these days, I think India has a realistic chance of surpassing China in productivity and wealth accumulation. There are several factors that I believe can make a strong contribution to bringing this about. First, India has a very high percentage of English speakers – all thanks to the protracted British occupation. Second, India seems to posses a very high percentage of highly educated persons. A large portion of this intellectual capital seems to be flowing into the IT sector. The main problem that I see with India is that many of its citizens live in sheer abject poverty.This is slowly changing though.
The Mumbai Stock Exchange’s Index of 30 blue chip companies has more than tripled in the last 2½ years, far outpacing the China’s stock returns. And although China’s stupendous economic growth rate still surpasses India’s, India has now reached the 6% plus rate of GDP growth that marks the emergence of a developing country.
Like I said, three British legacies – the English language, Democracy, and Freedom of the Press – benefit many Indians today.
It surprises many that Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian-born steel magnate, is the 3rd richest man in the world after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. In fact, in Forbes’ latest list of the world’s wealthiest people, 12 Indians made the list and only two Chinese. And there is a growing consensus in India that this wealth creation can help everybody rise, not just those at the top
What about Dubai?
According to Wikipedia:
Dubai’s gross domestic product as of 2006 was US$46 billion. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% of the emirate’s revenues. It is estimated that Dubai produces 240,000 barrels of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from offshore fields. The emirate’s share in UAE’s gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai’s oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years
What will happen when the oil revenues run dry? Well, worry not as Dubai is prepared:
The city now has thriving manufacturing, finance, information technology and tourism sectors and is home to numerous multinational companies such as AT&T, General Motors, Heinz, IBM, Shell, and Sony. Figures published by the Dubai Development and Investment Authority show that Dubai’s GDP totaled $16.4 billion US in 2000.
The manufacturing sector in Dubai is very healthy with some of the most important industries including beverages, chemicals, paper, pharmaceuticals and rubber. The financial services industry grew by a remarkable 12 percent per annum during the 1990s and this trend seems set to continue. All the major international accountancy firms have offices in Dubai and the city is also home to dozens of national and locally incorporated international banks. Furthermore, the banking sector will be completely opened up to foreign banks by 2005. In March 2000, the UAE’s first stock exchange, the Dubai Financial Market was opened.
Did you know that Shanghai is the birthplace of the biggest anti-capitalist movement? Isn’t it a bit ironic that it’s now the heart of China’s economic engine that seems to keep going, and going, and going, and…I’m sure you catch my drift.
Its skyscrapers rival those of New York and Chicago, and if it gets its way, it will soon be home to the world’s tallest.
Shanghai’s port ships more than a quarter of China’s total exports, recently overtaking Rotterdam to become number one in the world in terms of total tonnage handled. And it’s not stopping there — work is well under way to more than triple its capacity.
So far, more than 300 of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have invested in the city. In April 2005 the American tiremaker Goodyear became the latest in a long line of companies to move its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Shanghai
Ok, I think this will do it for this article. Wise men say that the future belongs to the young, and the youthful and dynamic cities of emerging market nations are poised to topple their increasingly decrepit rivals in the West.