The second annual Asia-Pacific Wealth Report (by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini) was presented yesterday at the 8th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. It turns out that High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) in Korea have grown to 99,000, growing by 14.1%, the 6th highest growth rate in the world.
Taken from this morning’s English translation of the Maeil Business newspaper (sorry no link), this growth has been primarily driven by property investment. Chang Jae-ho, Head of Korea Global Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch said, “Rising property prices in the country combined with the government’s relaxed regulations on overseas property investment helped generate the double digit increase in both the population of HNWIs in the country as well as their value of assets.”
You can’t really view Korea in terms of the westernized view of ‘class‘ but some people separate and categorize Korea in terms of Haves (high net worth individuals with available capital to invest), Have Lessers (those who appear wealthy but are burdened by indebtedness) and Have Nots. With this increasing portion of wealthy society, its effect on this year’s elections can’t be underestimated.
The report also points out that the majority of HNWI in Korea are male, at over 80%. In contrast, 43 percent of Taiwan’s HNWI population and over 30 percent of China’s and Hong Kong’s were female. No surprises there in terms of Korea but does it hint at the entrepreneurial talent and potential of females in neighboring Asian countries, and, therefore, Korea?