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Singapore to Overtake Tokyo as Asia’s Wealthy Hub in 2023

Central Business District in Singapore
Commercial buildings in the central business district are reflected on a building facade in Singapore. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore is poised to surpass Tokyo as the Asian city with the most ultra-high-net-worth individuals within a decade as its stature as a financial center increases with the region’s growth.

Singapore will have 4,878 people with $30 million or more in assets excluding their principal residence by 2023, a 55 percent gain from last year, and trailing only London globally, according to a report from Knight Frank LLP yesterday. The number of these millionaires in Tokyo will climb 8 percent to 3,818, ranking the city fourth worldwide after New York.

“The main battleground is Asia, where a handful of locations are slugging it out in the hope of establishing a clear lead as the region’s alpha urban hub,” Nicholas Holt, Knight Frank’s Asia-Pacific head of research, said in a statement yesterday.

Singapore has overtaken Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey showed on March 4. The city-state leapt five spots to top the ranking after its currency appreciated and the cost of car ownership and luxury apparel climbed, according to the EIU’s report.

The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City will almost triple by 2023 to 246 from 90, the largest increase among the more than 80 cities tracked by Knight Frank. That was followed by a 148 percent advance in Jakarta to 857.

Second Home

Singapore’s business environment, tax regime, political stability and its growing status as a key regional financial hub have drawn wealthy people to the city, Alice Tan, head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank Singapore, said in yesterday’s statement.

Almost a quarter of Asia’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals are considering buying another home in the next 12 months, with Singapore following the U.K. as the top location for second-home ownership.

The Southeast Asian country’s economy expanded by an annualized 6.1 percent in the December quarter as manufacturing picked up, with the government predicting an improvement in overseas demand in 2014.

London is expected to have 4,940 ultra-high net-worth individuals by 2023, while New York will take the No. 3 spot with 3,825, according to Knight Frank. The total in Hong Kong will rise 37 percent to 3,502, helping the city retain its No. 5 spot.

Unfurnished high-end three-bedroom apartments in Singapore cost an average $5,630 a month, a report from Employment Conditions Abroad Ltd. showed today. For similar apartments, Hong Kong remained the city with the highest rents in the world at $11,440 a month, according to ECA, which helps companies relocate employees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at Darren Boey

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