China may soon be the birthplace to half the world’s billionaires but Singapore – the world’s richest city – is where they go to play.
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Some of the rich and famous who have moved to the tiny Southeast Asian island republic include Indian telecom tycoon Bhupendra Kumar Modi, Chinese movie superstars Gong Li and Jet Li, New Zealand billionaire Richard Chandler, and famed US investor Jim Rogers.
One in six households in Singapore have a net worth of $1m, reflecting the flow of wealth eastwards as the centre of global economic activity shifts to Asia.
With low taxes, a reliable, corruption-free government and protective private banking laws, the world’s ultra-rich are flocking to make Singapore home, giving it the highest percentage of millionaire households in the world.
While the rich have fun, locals are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Statistics show the wages of Singapore’s bottom 20 percent have fallen by about 10 percent in real terms in the last ten years, while incomes for the top 20 percent have grown by about 30 percent.
Cries for a larger social security net for the poor are getting louder but this will mean increasing taxes. So, can Singapore, the economic miracle, sustain the ultra-rich’s attention for long? Or will the party end soon?