KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Malaysia is among the top 10 countries with the fastest-growing population of ultra-rich individuals — which is defined as having a minimum of US$30 million or RM139 million in net wealth — last year, property consultancy Knight Frank’s latest report showed.

Just how many individuals belong to the ultra-rich category in Malaysia? In 2017, there were already 491 people. By 2021, this number grew to 659 and then 721 people in 2022.

In the latest edition of Knight Frank’s flagship report The Wealth Report (Wealth Sizing Model), the company said the global population of ultra-rich or ultra-high-worth individuals (UNHWI) had a record-breaking growth of 9.3 per cent in 2021, before falling by 3.8 per cent in 2022.

But even as the global population of ultra-rich persons fell from 602,553 in 2021 to 579,625 persons in 2022, the number of ultra-rich persons in Malaysia continued to grow last year.

Similarly, while the number of ultra-rich persons in Asia fell by 6.5 per cent from 160,890 in 2021 to 150,362 persons in 2022, three countries including Malaysia were among top 10 countries recording the fastest growth in the number of ultra-rich persons in 2022.

“Asia’s UHNWI population fell by 6.5 per cent yet three of the top 10 highest growth spots were held by Asian countries. Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore saw their wealthy populations expand by 7 to 9 per cent,” the report released today said.

The ultra-rich population in Malaysia had the sixth highest growth globally in 2022 at 9.4 per cent, faster than the growth rate of 9.0 per cent in Indonesia and 6.9 per cent in Singapore.

In actual numbers, Malaysia’s ultra-rich population grew from 659 in 2021 to 721 persons in 2022, while Indonesia’s growth was from 510 to 556 persons and Singapore from 4,206 to 4,498 during the same period, the Knight Frank report showed.

Countries in Asia which experienced a shrinking of their ultra-rich population from 2021 to 2022 were the Philippines (down from 319 to 312), Thailand (944 decreased to 888), and Vietnam (down from 1,196 to 1,059).

A similar phenomenon of shrinking numbers across Asia was seen during the same 2021 to 2022 period in China’s mainland (down from 93,500 to 88,024), Japan (24,489 down to 22,259), Taiwan (down from 7,324 to 6,618), South Korea (down from 6,960 to 6,295), and Hong Kong (down from 6,050 to 5,686), based on Knight Frank’s report.

The Knight Frank report listed the number of ultra-rich or UNHWI in 44 countries or areas globally, covering those in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Middle East.

Dominic Heaton-Watson, Associate Director, International Residential, Knight Frank Property Hub said Malaysia was a “stand-out performer with significant growth” last year amid an overall fall in the global UNHWI population.

“There may still be a great deal of uncertainty on the horizon, but Malaysian UHNWIs are set to capitalise on a diverse range of sectors including medical, logistics, tech, hospitality, finance, and real estate,” he said in a statement today on the report, adding that local and international investment in residential property remains a key component of wealth creation and income generation.

He said 100 prime residential markets globally saw average price growth of 5.2 per cent and luxury investment assets grow 16 per cent in 2022.