Are Crazy Rich Asians Really That Wealthy?

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Written By Farid Shojaei

Crazy Rich Asians is a new Hollywood rom-com that follows a well-trodden plot path of boy-meets-girl, family disapproves but love finds a way…

The movie is based on a best-selling novel of the same name that delves into the world of the impossibly wealthy in Singapore.

The boyfriend, Mick Young, played by Henry Golding, disguises his wealth to avoid romantic entrapments with gold-diggers.

He falls for Rachel Chu, a US born Asian (Constance Wu) and takes him home to meet the family.

And that’s where the problems start.

Financial equality

But how close is the Crazy Rich Asians story to the truth?

Singapore is one of the world’s wealthiest cities. The shopping malls are stuffed with stores selling designer brands, much like London, Paris and New York.

Charity Oxfam has looked at financial equality in the Asia Pacific and crunched the data to come up with some astonishing numbers.

The region has the most billionaires and millionaires of any region in the world.

“Wealth inequality has reached alarming levels in a number of countries in the region,” said Mustafa Talpur, who heads the inequality campaign in Asia for Oxfam.

The Asia Pacific has 585 billionaires at the last count – excluding China, which has another 373. Many would call Hong Kong and Singapore home.

Asia’s wealthiest men

The Asia-Pacific has the highest number of net worth individuals in the world – people who have more than $1 million on top of the value of their main residence – making up 34% of high net worth individuals globally versus 31% for North America.

Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, is Asia’s wealthiest person and is number 17 in the world rankings, according to the 2018 Forbes list.

He is CEO of China’s tech giant Tencent Holdings, owner of WeChat, a hugely popular messaging app. He has a net worth of $45.3 billion.

The Asia-Pacific also has three other billionaires representative in the top 30 richest people in the world table.

But wealth in the Asia-Pacific is unequal. In 2017, the richest 1% of the population garnered 47% of the country’s wealth – and the picture is the same in most other nations in the region.