China: US act on Hong Kong ‘completely unnecessary’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

US act on Hong Kong ‘completely unnecessary, unjustifiable’: HKSAR chief executive

Xinhua

US act on Hong Kong 'completely unnecessary, unjustifiable': HKSAR chief executive

AFP

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on December 3, 2019.

The Hong Kong-related act recently passed by the US Congress and signed into law by the US president is “completely unnecessary and unjustifiable,” Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

At a media briefing before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said the HKSAR government strongly opposes the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, and regards it as a “very regrettable” move by a foreign legislature and administration to interfere in the Hong Kong affairs through their own legislation.

Stressing that the human rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents are well protected by the HKSAR Basic Law, Lam pointed out “we enjoy a high degree of freedom in many aspects, including freedom of press, freedom of assembly and demonstration, as well as religious freedom.”

Lam noted that the major chambers of commerce here have been strongly opposing the act, adding that the act may even bring harm to US companies, considering that there are more than 1,300 US enterprises that have operation or even regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

As for the suspension of reviewing applications to visit Hong Kong by US military ships and aircraft and the sanctions against some US non-governmental organizations announced by the Chinese central government on Monday, Lam said the central government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs related to the HKSAR, and the HKSAR will cooperate and follow up in accordance.

Visitors to Hong Kong drop 43.7% on year in October

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Visitors to Hong Kong drop 43.7% on year in October

Xinhua

The number of visitors to Hong Kong dropped 43.7 percent year on year to 3.31 million in October, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

The decline has been widening since July as tourism took the major brunt of social unrest. In the first 10 months, the number of visitors went down by 4.7 percent from a year ago.

The HKTB attributed the sharper fall in the last month to continued violent incidents and a high base a year ago, when the number of visitors was boosted by the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

In October, visitors from the Chinese mainland, accounting for about 76 percent of the total, slumped 45.9 percent year on year. US and Japanese visitors fell by 38.2 percent and 44.9 percent from a year ago, respectively.

The dropping visitor number has forced major carriers to adjust their strategy.

Hong Kong Airlines said in a statement Friday that it will suspend services to Vancouver, Ho Chi Minh City and Tianjin since February to focus on operating other priority routes under the challenging business environment caused by the ongoing social unrest.

Hong Kong protesters wave Trump-Rocky photos at rally

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS NETWORK)

 

Hong Kong protesters wave Trump-Rocky photos at rally

Protesters in Hong Kong on Thursday night could be seen waving pictures featuring the image President Trump recently shared of his face superimposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone’s fictional boxer Rocky Balboa.

The Washington Post reports many protesters in attendance at the “Thanksgiving Rally” were draped in American flags and cheered on Trump.

The president on Wednesday signed legislation affirming the United States’s support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Protesters flooded the streets of Hong Kong shortly after the bill was signed in Washington.

The legislation made its way to Trump’s desk quickly after it cleared both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.

The legislation imposes sanctions on individuals who commit human rights violations in Hong Kong and blocks them from entering the United States.

Trump’s signing of the bill grew his popularity in Hong Kong, with the Trump-Rocky photo serving as a fitting symbol of the demonstrators’ approval of the president.

The Post noted that some protesters even sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the demonstration.

Pro-democracy protests have gone on for months in Hong Kong, escalating in recent weeks as demonstrators have clashed with police. The uprising was initially sparked by a bill that would have allowed some citizens to be extradited to mainland China. The bill has since been withdrawn, which did little to quell the protests.

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC)

 

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters into law, in spite of Beijing’s objections

KEY POINTS
  • President Trump signs two bills backing Hong Kong protesters, the White House says in a statement.
  • The president says he “signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.”
  • He also says he hopes “Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences.”
GP 191127 President Trump Pardons National Thanksgiving Turkey
U.S. President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump looking on in the Rose Garden of the White House November 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has signed two bills supporting the Hong Kong protesters into law on Wednesday, despite Beijing’s repeated objections.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Congress sent the bills to the president’s desk last week, after both chambers passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The first bill would require the State Department to certify once a year that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to retain its special U.S. trading consideration — a status that helps its economy. Under that designation, the city is not subject to the tariffs that have been levied on China. The bill also sets up the potential for sanctions on people responsible for human rights abuse in Hong Kong.

The second measure would bar the sale of munitions such as tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police.

Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has been engulfed in months of anti-government protests. Initially sparked by a bill that would have enabled extradition to mainland China, the protests have morphed into broader anti-government demonstrations, including a wider range of demands such as greater democracy and universal suffrage.

VIDEO03:36
China decries House bill, calls it the ‘Support Violence in Hong Kong Act’

As the protests more frequently lapsed into violence, U.S. lawmakers increasingly criticized China’s response to the protests.

Trump’s Wednesday statement echoes his earlier comments that China should handle the situation itself. Though he has also warned that harsh treatment of the people in Hong Kong could derail trade negotiations.

Trump signed the bills into law as he tries to reach a “phase one” trade deal with Beijing, which has repeatedly condemned the legislation as meddling in its domestic affairs. The Hong Kong government has also spoken out against the bills, saying they are “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the sponsors of the Hong Kong rights bill, said he applauds Trump “for signing this critical legislation into law.”

“The U.S. now has new and meaningful tools to deter further influence and interference from Beijing into Hong Kong’s internal affairs. Following last weekend’s historic elections in Hong Kong that included record turnout, this new law could not be more timely in showing strong U.S. support for Hong Kongers’ long-cherished freedoms,” Rubio said in a statement.

VIDEO01:54
Hong Kong markets jump following pro-democracy candidates’ landslide victory

Over the weekend, Hong Kong democrats swept district council elections as 2.94 million cast their ballots, a record turnout of about 71.2%. While those seats largely focus on local issues like bus routes, some district councilors will also join the Election Committee which nominates and votes on candidates for the city’s leader.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said the legislation is an “important step forward in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and its repression of fundamental human rights.”

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

Hong Kong elections: Record numbers vote in district council polls

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hong Kong elections: Record numbers vote in district council polls

Hong Kong voters queue to cast their ballots in district council electionsImage copyright EPA
Image caption There were long queues at polling stations even as night started to fall

Voters have turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots in Hong Kong’s district council elections.

Nearly 2.9m people had voted an hour before polls shut, a 69% turnout. Just 1.47m voted at the last such poll.

The election is seen as a test of support for embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Pro-democracy protest groups hope the vote will send a message to the Chinese government after five months of unrest and anti-government protests.

In the run-up to the election, pro-democracy protest groups had urged people not to cause disruption. No trouble has been reported so far.

Long queues formed on Sunday amid fears polls might be closed by authorities if violence disrupted the election.

Media caption The identity crisis behind Hong Kong’s protests

A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote, or more than half the population of 7.4 million.

Pro-democracy campaigners hope they will be able to increase their representation on Hong Kong’s district council, which traditionally has some influence in choosing the city’s chief executive.

Pro-Beijing candidates are urging voters to support them in order to express frustration at the upheaval caused by continuous clashes between protesters and police.

What’s happening?

Polls opened at 07:30 local time (23:30 GMT) and closed at 22:30 on Sunday. Counting of ballots has now begun.

By 21:30 almost 2.9 million people had voted – or more than 69% of all registered voters.

In total, 1.467 million people voted in the last poll in 2015, when 3.1 million people were registered to vote.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to the press after casting her vote during the district council elections in Hong Kong on November 24, 2019Image copyrightAFP
Image captionChief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the “peaceful environment” for the vote

More than 1,000 candidates are running for 452 district council seats which, for the first time, are all being contested. A further 27 seats are allocated to representatives of rural districts.

Currently, pro-Beijing parties hold the majority of these seats. Counting will start immediately after polls close at 22:30, and results are expected to start coming in before midnight.

Police were seen outside some polling stations and on the streets but correspondents said they kept a low profile.

“Facing the extremely challenging situation, I’m pleased to say… we have a relatively calm and peaceful environment for [the] election today,” Carrie Lam said after voting.

Grey line

Ballots send a message

By Jonathan Head, BBC News, Hong Kong

This was a local election, for largely powerless district councils, yet it felt far more significant.

Queues formed early at Taikoo Shing in beautiful sunny weather, and by the time voting began they snaked around the block. The picture was similar at other polling stations. Local issues were on the minds of some voters, but the importance of this election as a clear test of support for the government and its opponents was lost on very few.

Some voters were uneasy about expressing any opinions in front of others. The sight of Democratic Party candidate Andrew Chiu sitting outside, chatting to reporters, and showing the bandaged left side of his head where an assailant bit off part of his ear earlier this month, offered a grim reminder of how far Hong Kong’s crisis has divided communities and families.

Andrew Chiu, a candidate in Hong Kong's district council elections in November 2019, sat outside a polling station chatting to voters
Image captionAndrew Chiu spoke to reporters outside a polling station amid voting in the district council elections

Nonetheless some told us they treasured this opportunity to send a message with their ballots, a free vote with a wide choice of candidates they said they were all too aware is not available in other parts of China.

Ten out of thirty-five seats in this district were uncontested at the last local council election, where pro-government parties have long enjoyed the advantage of better funding. This time every seat is being contested.

The opposition pan-democratic alliance has adopted the five demands of the protest movement as its slogan, and hopes public sentiment over the five-month crisis will give it an opportunity to take control of many of the district councils for the first time.

Grey line

Why are these elections important?

District councils themselves have very little actual power, so usually these elections take place on a very local level.

But this election is different.

Election officials empty ballot boxes to count votes in Hong Kong (2011)

Getty
Hong Kong district elections

  • 479seats across the territory
  • 1,090candidates – all seats being contested for the first time
  • 4.13mregistered voters – the highest number ever
  • 117councillors sit on committee that elects chief executive

Source: Hong Kong government

They are the first elections since anti-government protests started in June, so they will act as a litmus test, reflecting how much support there is for the current government.

“People in Hong Kong have begun to see this election as an additional way to articulate and express their views on the state of Hong Kong in general and the government of Carrie Lam,” Kenneth Chan, associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, told Reuters news agency.

Then there is the issue of Hong Kong’s chief executive. Under Hong Kong’s electoral system, 117 of the district councillors will also sit on the 1,200-member committee that votes for the chief executive.

So a pro-democracy district win could translate eventually to a bigger share, and say, in who becomes the city’s next leader.

Who is running?

There are some notable names running in the elections, including pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, one of the most controversial politicians in the city. He was stabbed earlier this month by a man pretending to be a supporter.

Media captionJoshua Wong says Beijing can’t keep him down

The lawmaker has openly voiced his support for Hong Kong’s police force on multiple occasions. He was in July filmed shaking hands with a group of men – suspected of being triad gangsters – who later assaulted pro-democracy protesters.

Jimmy Sham, a political activist who has recently risen to prominence as the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front – a campaign group responsible for organising some of the mass protest marches – is running for the first time.

Mr Sham has also been attacked twice, once apparently with hammers. Photographs showed him lying on the street covered in blood.

Who is not running is also notable. Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from running in the elections, a move he referred to as “political screening”.

Hong Kong: China deploys troops and warns SURRENDER is only option

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Hong Kong chaos: China deploys troops and warns SURRENDER is only option

CHINA has sent troops to Hong Kong in a bid to restore order following the months of violent riots, warnings it will not allow the city to spiral into chaos.

Hong Kong: Police fire tear gas at protesters

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This comes after police said the demonstrators inside the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong had no option but to come out and surrender. The protests began peacefully in June and were sparked by proposed legislation that would have meant criminal suspects could be extradited to the mainland. Although the bill was withdrawn, the protests had broadened into a resistance movement against the territory’s government and Beijing.

Many of the protesters wear masks to shield their identities for protection.

China’s ambassador to Britain accused the UK and the US of meddling in the country’s affairs and warned that the Chinese government “will not sit on our hands” if the Hong Kong situation “becomes uncontrollable”.

Cheuk Hau-yip, the commander of Kowloon West district, said: “These rioters, they are also criminals. They have to face the consequences of their acts.

Hong Kong protester

China has warned they will cease control of Hong Kong (Image: GETTY )

Hong Kong protests

The protests kicked off in June and have strengthened in size (Image: GETTY )

“Other than coming out to surrender, I don’t see that there’s any viable option for them.”

China’s ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaming has said that China has the “resolution and power” to end Hong Kong unrest amid protests.

Liu said that the People’s Liberation Army could be deployed in Beijing, warning: “They are already there in the Hong Kong garrison. They are there to show sovereignty and are responsible for defence purposes.

SEE MOREHong Kong protests: 800 students under siege in university

Hong Kong protesters

Protesters do not want Hong Kong to lose its autonomy (Image: getty )

“If the situation becomes uncontrollable, the central government certainly would not sit on our hands and watch. We have enough resolution and power to end the unrest.”

This comes as China has denounced a Hong Kong court ruling declaring the government’s mask ban unconstitutional.

This decision has been seen as “seriously weakening” the power of the Hong Kong chief executive.

Chris Tang, Hong Kong’s new police commissioner, said in an interview that police alone are not able to end the violence.

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Hong Kong Protests

Protesters have worn masks to protect their identities (Image: GETTY )

Protesters believe the extradition bill is an example of Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy under Beijing.

They worry China is taking back the freedoms given to Hong Kong when the UK returned the territory to China.

Hong Kong police have laid siege to a university, pinning 800 students inside and threatened to use live ammunition on them, as the latest round of anti-government protests escalates.

Hong Kong Protests timeline

The Hong Kong Protests – how they happened (Image: EXPRESS )

China said it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy, while the city’s police deny accusations of brutality and say they show utmost restraint.

The UK has urged an “end to the violence and for all sides to engage in meaningful political dialogue”.

China Is Concerned About HK Court Ruling

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS NETWORK ‘SHINE’)

 

Central gov’t spokesperson expresses strong concern over HK court judicial review related to mask ban

Xinhua

A central government spokesperson on Tuesday expressed strong concern over the serious negative social impact of the ruling on the judicial review related to the anti-mask regulation by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The Emergency Regulations Ordinance in force in Hong Kong was confirmed to be in accordance with the HKSAR Basic Law by the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in February 1997 and adopted as a law of the HKSAR, said Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

“This shows all the provisions of the ordinance are in accordance with the Basic Law,” Yang said.

The HKSAR Chief Executive in Council invoked the power under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to put in place the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation, which was an exercise of the Chief Executive’s functions in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant decisions of the NPC Standing Committee, he noted.

“The regulation has played a positive role in curbing violence and chaos since its implementation,” he added.

The Court of First Instance of the High Court of the HKSAR ruled that the provisions of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance which empower the Chief Executive to make related regulations under certain circumstances were inconsistent with the HKSAR Basic Law and that the main elements of the anti-mask regulation failed to meet the proportionality test.

“This is a blatant challenge to the authority of the NPC Standing Committee and to the power vested in the Chief Executive by law to govern. It will have serious negative social and political impact,” said Yang, adding that the central government will closely follow the development of this case.

The spokesperson expressed the hope that the HKSAR government and the judiciary will perform their duties strictly in accordance with the HKSAR Basic Law and jointly shoulder the responsibility of ending violence and chaos and restoring order.

Pro-democracy lawmakers detained in Hong Kong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE HILL’ NEWS)

 

Pro-democracy lawmakers detained in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy lawmakers detained in Hong Kong
© Getty Images

Seven pro-democracy lawmakers either were detained or faced arrest in Hong Kong on Saturday in a move that could escalate ongoing protests against Beijing on the semi-autonomous Chinese island.

Police said three lawmakers were arrested and charged with obstructing the local assembly for their participation in a raucous May 11 meeting over a now-shelved bill that would allow for Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China. The other four lawmakers received summons to arrive at police stations Saturday to face arrest, according to The Associated Press.

All seven are to appear in court Monday.

The move could serve to intensify anger toward the local government a day after demonstrators rushed to the streets to protest the death of a 22-year-old university student. Chow Tsz-Lok was killed this week after falling from a parking garage when police fired tear gas during clashes with pro-democracy protesters.

Chow’s death revived a conversation over alleged abuse of power by local police against demonstrators.

Other pro-democracy lawmakers panned Saturday’s escalation, saying it is intended to provoke more violence to set up an excuse to postpone or cancel district elections scheduled for later this month.

“We’ll say no to their plans,” lawmaker Tanya Chan told a news conference. “It is a de facto referendum for all Hong Kong voters to cast their vote and say no to police brutality and say no to our unjust system.”

Patrick Nip, Hong Kong’s constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, said the arrests were a result of a police investigation and were not tied to the upcoming elections, according to the AP.

Hong Kong has faced months of unrest as protesters have called for a litany of changes, including universal suffrage and an independent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by police in dealing with protesters.

The protests began with pro-democracy demonstrations against the extradition bill. Protests expanded after the bill was suspended and declared “dead” to include several other demands as concerns grew that Beijing was looking to tighten its control over the territory.

More than 3,300 people have been arrested thus far, according to the AP.

China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF COMMUNIST CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong: spokesperson

Xinhua

China on Wednesday expressed strong indignation and firm opposition to the US House of Representatives’ passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a press statement.

What Hong Kong faces at present is not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but the issue of ending violence and chaos, restoring order and upholding the rule of law as soon as possible, spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the statement.

By neglecting the truth and turning white to black, the US House of Representatives called arson, smashing of shops, and violently assaulting police officers as human rights and freedom, which is a stark double standard that fully exposes some Americans’ extreme hypocrisy on human rights and democracy and their malicious intentions to damage the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and contain China’s development, Geng said.

The United States also has important interests in Hong Kong, he said.

“Should the act eventually come into law, it will not only harm the interests of China and the China-US relations, but also severely undermine the interests of the United States,” Geng said.

China will definitely take forceful countermeasures against the wrong decision of the US side in order to firmly safeguard its own sovereignty, security and development interests, the spokesperson said.

“Hong Kong belongs to China and its affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs that brook no foreign interference,” he reiterated.

“We advise the US side to get a clear understanding of the situation, rein in on the brink of the precipice immediately, and cease to promote the subsequent deliberation of the act and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs immediately,” Geng said.

get the US nowhere

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region expressed strong indignation over some US politicians’ actions of passing Hong Kong-related bills at the US House, warning that playing Hong Kong as a card will get the United States nowhere.

Some US politicians have kept bent on passing Hong Kong-related bills including the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019,” ignoring the facts and confounding right with wrong. By doing so, they have openly endorsed anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong, tested the red line of the “one country, two systems” principle, grossly interfered with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs as a whole, and trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations, the commissioner’s office said in a statement.

“We express strong indignation over and condemn such actions, which have again exposed the politicians’ gangster logic and hegemonic mindset,” it said.

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

 

Countries With the Most Billionaires

The world is home to about 2,754 billionaires who together control $9.2 trillion in wealth, according to the 2018 Billionaire Census, compiled annually by Wealth-X.

While billionaires are spread out all over the globe, that wealth is concentrated in a small handful of countries. As it turns out, 40 percent of the world’s billionaires reside in the countries below.

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10. United Arab Emirates

Credit: DieterMeyri / iStock

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is an oil-rich Arab nation on the Persian Gulf. It’s also home to 62 billionaires who together have a total wealth of $168 billion.

Dubai, the capital city, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to architectural wonders like the Burj Khalifa — which is currently the tallest building in the world. Dubai is also home to 65 percent of the nation’s billionaires, according to Wealth-X data.

9. Saudi Arabia

Credit: jamjoom / iStock

Saudi Arabia is a mecca for billionaires, literally and figuratively. The country ties its neighbor for the total number of billionaires with 62, but it’s got the UAE beat in terms of shared wealth. Saudi billionaires hold a total of $169 billion, $1 billion more than their Emirati counterparts.

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East, thanks to the more than 266,000 barrels of untapped oil lying beneath its desert sands. The nation exports more oil than any other country, and the size of its reserve is second only to Venezuela.

8. United Kingdom

Credit: Daniel Lange / iStock

The United Kingdom is home to 90 billionaires at last count, who together hold $251 billion.

You might be surprised to learn that Queen Elizabeth II isn’t among them; she’s worth only half a billion. The U.K. billionaire club includes a diverse list of business people such as steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal ($18.9 billion), bagless vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson and family ($12.3 billion), and Virgin Atlantic founder and space cowboy Richard Branson ($4.1 billion).

But you’ve probably never heard of the U.K’s richest man: Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of London-based chemical manufacturer Ineos. Ratliffe is entirely self-made, mortgaging his house to buy his first chemical assets.

7. Hong Kong

Credit: Nikada / iStock

We know, we know. Hong Kong isn’t really a country, per se. It is a semi-autonomous region of China. But its high concentration of billionaires makes it worthy of distinction. The city-state has a total of 93 billionaires worth a combined $315 billion.

In terms of billionaire cities, Hong Kong is ranked second, nestled between New York (#1) and San Francisco (#3). Hong Kong owes its wealth to more than a century of British rule, which came to an end in 1997. Possessing one of the world’s busiest shipping ports, Hong Kong became a manufacturing powerhouse.

The country’s richest person is 90-year-old entrepreneur Li Ka-shing. A high school dropout, Li made his fortune in plastic manufacturing, port development, and retail.

6. Russia

Credit: Mordolff / iStock

Russia is home to 96 billionaires worth a combined $351 billion. That number doesn’t include the net worth of President Vladimir Putin, who is rumored to be the world’s richest man with $200 billion in secret assets. But according to documents filed with the Russian election commission, Putin only claims to earn an average annual salary of $112,000.

Officially, Russia’s richest man is Leonid Mikhelson at $23.6 billion. Mikhelson is CEO of Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas company. He’s among the politically powerful Russian oligarchs who rose to power after rapidly gobbling up assets when Russia’s state-owned companies went private.

5. Switzerland

Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev / iStock

Switzerland has 99 billionaires worth a total of $265 billion. That’s a high concentration of billionaires for such a small country, and once a year it gets even more concentrated. CEOs and heads of state from all over the world descend upon the snowy ski-town of Davos at the beginning every year for the World Economic Forum.

Many Swiss billionaires owe their riches to the banking and financial industry. Provided the country’s neutral status during both World Wars, and its centuries-long tradition of secrecy, Swiss banks became a global favorite. In 2018 it was estimated that Swiss banks held $6.5 trillion in assets, which is a quarter of all global cross-border assets.

4. India

Credit: Leonid Andronov / iStock

India is a country of extremes. About 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, surviving off less than $3.10 a day. It is also home to one of the fastest-growing economies and 104 billionaires in total. Together India’s billionaires are worth $299 billion.

The country’s richest man is Mukesh Ambani, who is worth an estimated $49.6 billion. He owns 43 percent of Reliance Industries, which owns a little bit of everything: energy, oil, textiles, retail stores and telecom. Ambani also owns a professional cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.

3. Germany

Credit: bkindler / iStock

With 152 in total, you might be asking why Germany has so many billionaires. The answer is cars, machines, chemicals, electronics and groceries.

As it turns out, that “Germany engineering” you always hear about is a real thing, and it’s worth a lot of money. German billionaires control a total of $466 billion in assets, much of it earned from industrial and chemical manufacturing companies.

But the country’s richest person is Dieter Schwarz, whose company owns Europe’s largest supermarket chains, Lidl and Kaufland. At 79, Schwarz is worth a whopping $24.9 billion.

2. China

Credit: bjdlzx / iStock

At 338, China is home to 12 percent of the world’s billionaires who together possess $1 trillion in total wealth. Deng Xiaoping, who served as leader from 1978 to 1989, paved the way for the country’s growth by drastically reforming the economy. Flash forward to today where China generates a new billionaire every two days, according to UBS. The richest among them is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with a net worth of $40.1 billion.

1. The United States

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

The United States is far and away the leader when it comes to billionaires with a total of 680. That is 25 percent of all billionaires in the world. U.S. billionaires have more than $3.16 trillion in assets combined.

America’s four richest billionaires are household names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($120 billion), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($95.5 billion), investing genius Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion) and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg ($65.9 billion).

 

 

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