The world's wealthiest countries at a glance

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Published 2 months ago

For professionals, entrepreneurs and investors looking for new opportunities overseas, economic and financial stability is a crucial factor. Which are the countries where you're more likely to thrive and prosper? Expat.com gives you an insight into five of the world's wealthiest countries according to the Wealth-X World Ultra Wealth Report 2018.

USA

San Francisco, USA
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An economic powerhouse, the USA is without a doubt the wealthiest country in the world with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $ 20.2 trillion in 2018. Thanks to its robust economy, no significant change was noted in recent years in spite of the slight growth of its ultra wealthy population. The USA mostly rely on their stable economy and the resilience of the US dollar. Financial and technology sectors have been performing well, coupled with recent fiscal stimulus measures set up by the government which led to an 8.9% increase in the number of billionaires. Today, these 79,595 individuals account for nearly 31% of the world's wealthy population. This year, the most substantial US billionaire population growth was seen in San Francisco (11%) which is a technology and entrepreneurship hub owed to a business-friendly environment. Moreover, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington perform much better than New York as a global financial centre.

Japan

Shinjuku area, Tokyo
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With a GDP of 4.872 billion dollars in 2017 and estimated at 5.063 billion dollars in 2018, Japan is the world's second wealthiest country. Over the past year, the Japanese billionaire population increased by 11%. Needless to say that Tokyo, the capital city, is the most affluent city in Japan with a 12% growth of its ultra wealthy population. Japan can boast of recent reforms initiated by the government to boost the economy, especially since the depreciation of the yen against the US dollar. As the largest financial hub in Asia, Tokyo also benefits from the dynamic national monetary policy which had a significant impact on the real estate market growth. Overall, Japan's wealth growth is driven by various factors such as the rapid development of new technologies, high-level infrastructure, the resilience of the yen, investments in research and promising sectors as well as the promotion of industry. Also, Japan is world famous regarding technology and industry with prestigious automotive brands like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi. Significant importance is also given to innovation and creativity.

China

Hong Kong skyline
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While China is home to some 30.4 million poor people, an impressive number of billionaires has also been recorded. No wonder why Japan is the world's third wealthiest country. The world's second-largest economy can boast of a GDP of $ 12.237 billion in 2017 and estimated at $ 13.19 billion in 2018. It's worth noting that China's GDP, on its own, accounts for nearly 20% of the global economy. China has thus become an attractive destination for foreign professionals, entrepreneurs and investors looking to a brighter future. For the past year, a 14.1% growth was noted in the Chinese billionaire population. With a 7% economic growth, massive investments in infrastructure, the increase in exports, the rapid development of the industrial sector and the appreciation of the yuan against the US dollar, China is all set to become the world's number one in all fields. The highest billionaire population was noted in Hong Kong. A major financial hub, Hong Kong can rely on its commercial and investment links with mainland China, as well as on the direct relationship between its stock exchange and that of Shenzhen.

Germany

Frankfurt, Germany
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Germany is the only European country in the top five with a GDP of $ 3.677 billion in 2017 and estimated at $ 3.677 billion in 2017. It is also one of the world's largest economies and the most resilient one in the Euro Zone. Also, a 1.9% economic growth is expected in 2018 compared to last year's 2%. It's worth noting that the German economic model mainly relies on its small and medium enterprises (SME) network – which probably explains its attractivity for foreign entrepreneurs and investors. Today, more than 3.6 million SMEs account for the largest employers with 68% of the total workforce. The SME network's openness to the international market significantly contributes to economic growth and that of the billionaire population. Nevertheless, many financial institutions, have been pointing out the widening between the rich and the poor due to unequal wealth distribution. As a result, the fortune of some fifty ultra-wealthy families is as vast as that of the bottom half of the German population.

Canada

Victoria Harbour, British Columbia
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This year, Canada comes in between Germany and France at the fifth spot. Thanks to a 3% economic growth, the country's GDP accounted for 1.653 billion dollars for 2017 and is estimated at 1.763 billion in 2018. Overall, Canada has a stable and favourable economy even though some regions like British Columbia are now more appealing than others. The resilient Canadian dollar, improving local economies, and market openness, have significantly contributed to Canada's billionaire population growth. It's worth noting that the fortune of 87 ultra-wealthy families is equal to that of nearly 12 million Canadians making up one-third of the population. The absence of wealth and inheritance taxes can probably explain the rise. Also, most of these billionaire families live in the east coast provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. According to Statistics Canada, the average value of the fortune of most ultra-wealthy Canadian families is evaluated at $ 3 billion. On the other hand, the gap between the rich and the poor keeps on widening. Over the past few years, a 37% growth was noted in the fortune value of billionaire families compared to 15% for that of the rest of the Canadian population.