Rising wealth in China and the number of millionaires and the middle class is set to increase through the midpoint of this decade as the country grows more affluent and smarter.
HSBC Holdings Plc's new report "The rising wealth of China; Millionaires and the middle class lead the way" predicts a world where millionaires in the country are set to double in the next five years, and the middle class will increase by nearly half.
From an asset manager's point of view, China could be the next hot spot for new clients mainly because the report shows 2 million high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), those with the equivalent of at least $1.55 million in investable assets, are set to more than double to at least 5 million by 2025.
The bank also estimated the middle-class number (currently at 340 million) would increase by more than 45% to over 500 million in the period.
"The middle class is expanding rapidly too, and the urban homeownership rate is the highest in the world, a remarkable 96%.1 We estimate that total household wealth will grow by more than 50% in the next five years, putting China on a very sound financial footing," HSBC said."
For asset managers overseeing their client's portfolios, the goal is to grow business, and China could be the best region to do so in the period.
"An expanding middle class will underpin medium to long-term economic growth, and stronger consumer spending boosts domestic demand, business confidence, and capital expenditure," wrote HSBC chief economist Qu Hongbin.
Hongbin said, "A rising middle class will also increase imports of goods and services, and attract foreign companies to invest in China."
An increasing middle class is the backbone of the country that will help it avoid the "middle-income trap," and the government will also support a new order to transition the economy to more of a consumption-led one. "It's not an exaggeration to say that the middle class can be the backbone of China's dual circulation strategy," they said.
HSBC's report examines the structure of the three parts of the country's wealth, the asset portfolios of households, the government, and the external sector and how they're all changing. Here are the reports top findings:
- China's household wealth is set to grow by around 8.5% annually in the next five years, with household investable assets topping RMB300trn in 2025, equivalent to 300% of China's GDP in 2020.
- HNWIs have investable assets of around RMB70trn (USD10.8trn) – that's approaching the combined market cap of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges at the end of 2020 (RMB79trn). Based on our conservative forecasts, this number will increase by 60% to RMB111trn by 2025.
- The middle class already numbers 340m people – bigger than the population of the U.S. – and is on track to grow over 45% by 2025 to more than 500m. A USD20 increase in daily spending by the newly made middle class would increase consumption by cUSD1.1trn per year, surpassing all but seven countries in terms of total middle class expenditure in 2020 (Kharas and Dooley, 2020).
China is growing more prosperous, and simultaneously it's recovering faster from the virus pandemic than any other country. The middle class is becoming more financially sophisticated and has a broader range of investment opportunities.
A larger middle class with higher income levels will increase demand for quality goods, supporting the transition to a consumption-led economy throughout this decade.
Perhaps the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a UK-based consultancy group, is correct: China is set to overtake the U.S. by 2028 that could usher in the dollar's demise.
JPMorgan's latest "Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions" report highlights an extended period of U.S. "exceptionalism" - in growth, interest rates and equity market performance - may be coming to an end. "As a result, we expect the dollar to weaken in most crosses over this cycle, with notable falls coming against EUR, JPY, and CNY."
Americans must wake up to the uncomfortable fact that China is ahead of schedule at displacing the West as the world's greatest economic superpower.