Impressive Growth in India's Super Rich

The number of Indians with a personal net worth of over US 1 million in real terms (Rs. 41 million) crossed the 100,000 mark for the first time in 2006. According to the World Wealth Report released on Thursday by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the number increased from 83,000 in 2005 to 100,015 in 2006.

The amount does not include the value of one primary residence or private collections of objects such as art, antiques or coins. It is based on the declared assets and the actual number of the wealthy may be much higher due to a large number of unaccounted assets existing in the system due to parallel economy.

The year-on-year increase of 20.5% is closely behind Singapore at 21.2%. The comparable growth in China has been at 7.8%, where the number of such wealthy people is 345,000. This is despite the fact that the Chinese economy grew at 10.7% against India's 9.4%.

The combined wealth of these super-rich Indians is $ 100 billion, a third of which is enough to wipe out India's $ 33-billion fiscal deficit.

India's economic growth and stock market returns, along with the booming real estate in 2006 created thousands of new dollar millionaires, referred generally as high net-worth individuals (HNWI).

USA, UK Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Russia, US are the other countries which also have more than 100,000 people with at least $1 million in net assets. Capgemini and Merrill Lynch define a millionaire as someone with $1 million-plus in financial assets such as cash, equities, bonds or mutual funds.

The number is also indicative of the capacity of individuals to spend on premium wines and the investment grade wines, as also other luxury goods. This is the segment that drinks premium wines. With the growing wine education and exposure to wine as a better and healthy lifestyle , the growth in this sector will go north. During the past couple of years, there has been a marked shift in the consumption of quality wines in India and the number is constantly on the increase, with the importers privately admitting to a spectacular growth in this sector.

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