China to become second-wealthiest nation in five years

China will overtake Japan as the world's second-wealthiest nation after the US in the next five years, says a global report on personal wealth.

According to the "Global Wealth Report 2012", the US will be the world's richest nation with $89 trillion of household net worth, the China Daily said Thursday.

The study carried out by the Credit Suisse Research Institute said there were 964,000 millionaires in China by mid-2012, and the number was expected to almost double to 1.9 million by 2017, driven by the rapid development of the private sector.

It defined "household wealth" as the value of financial assets and non-financial assets minus total household debts.

By mid-2012, China's total household wealth jumped $562 billion to $20 trillion.
China is expected to add another $18 trillion in family wealth in the next five years, the report said.

The projected $38 trillion total will surpass Japan's $35 trillion, and make China the second wealthiest country by 2017.

"Due to a high savings rate and relatively well-developed financial institutions, a high proportion of Chinese household assets are in financial form compared with other major developing countries," the report said.

"At the same time, privatised housing, new construction and rural land are very important forms of wealth in China," it said.

However, "wealth inequality" was rising in the country, with increase in wealth of successful entrepreneurs, professionals and investors.

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