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World’s billionaires saw ranks, wealth grow in 2017

BERLIN (AP) — The rich got richer than ever before last year, with China leading the way.

Swiss bank UBS said Friday that its annual study of the world’s billionaires found their combined wealth rose by $1.4 trillion to an eye-popping $8.9 trillion in 2017.

The number of billionaires around the global also increased, from 1,979 in 2016 to 2,158 last year.

China alone saw two new billionaires emerge each week, highlighting the rapid rise of a class of super rich in the nominally communist country.

Many of the country’s 373 billionaires — almost one in five of the global total — are self-made tycoons, often involved in the technology and retail sectors.

The report forecast that, driven by China, billionaires in Asia-Pacific will be wealthier than their American counterparts within three years.

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