China is the first major economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic that originated on the mainland itself. While the overall economy could not avoid a slowdown, the country’s ability to control the virus by March meant economic activity was able to resume relatively quickly.
That activity in turn has powered more wealth creation, creating even more Chinese billionaires. The mainland is now home to a record 415 billionaires worth a combined $1.7 trillion, up from 389 worth $1.2 trillion in April last year, according to new research by UBS and PwC.
Chinese billionaires’ combined fortunes have climbed ninefold over the past decade, while those of the richest in the US doubled during the same period. That says a lot about how the centre of economic gravity has been shifting to the East.
But the rising fortunes of the wealthy in China and Asia Pacific amid the pandemic is in stark contrast to the plight of millions of people being pushed into poverty as lockdown measures, the collapse of tourism and weak demand for exports decimate livelihoods.