Yangon, a city of the future
March 23, 2015
Measuring by per-capita income, Myanmar is among the world’s least developed economies. However, this does not mean the country does not have its own millionaires and billionaires.
According to the Wealth Report 2015, which includes a survey of Knight Frank’s Capital Markets wealth spending, 22 ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) are currently residing in Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital and largest commercial city. This figure can be compared to the 466 UHNWIs in Bangkok, 3,227 in Singapore, 363 in Jakarta, 310 in Kuala Lumpur and 95 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The report also predicts that Yangon will lure more millionaires, enough to make it one of the “four cities of future”.
The number of high net-worth individuals (HNWI) is expected to more than double over the coming decade to more than 3,500 by 2024.
“Yangon, is a classic example of emerging market wealth creation,” the report said. “Benefiting from the gradual opening up of its economy following the introduction of democratic reforms in recent years, the city has seen strong employment growth and inward investment, with annual GDP growth at the national level predicted to eclipse that seen in India and even China in 2015 and 2016. Accounting for a fifth of [Myanmar’s] overall economic output, Yangon is set to be the lead beneficiary of this process.”
Controls over non-resident property ownership have slowed private international investments, but private equity investment in business, especially those in the construction and development sectors, has been one method for non-residents to capitalize on rising property values. Restaurant, hotel and retail offers have been improving steadily over the past five years, and new entrants are arriving rapidly – with tourism visits forecast to grow from three million in 2015 to over seven million in 2020.
“A grand tour of Myanmar is now on the hotlist for wealthy tourists,” the report said.
The report names Yangon; Belgrade, Serbia; Panama City; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as the cities of future. All are believed to grow strongly at the regional level. Though they are unlikely to be on the second-home list of most UHNWIs, they should certainly be on their radars in terms of the wealth creation opportunities they will present, the report said.
The report showed that London tops the list of the 40 most important cities to UHNWIs in 2015. Other Asian cities on the list are Hong Kong (3), Singapore (4), Shanghai (5), Dubai (8), Beijing (9), Tokyo (11), Taipei (15), Jakarta (23), Mumbai (26), and Kuala Lumpur (30).
Five Asian cities are included in the top ten – Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai.
New York, now second on the list, seems poised to overtake London’s position within the next ten years.