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BEIJING (Reuters) - The number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in China has risen nearly 9 times since a decade ago, a private survey released on Tuesday showed, as strong growth in the world's second-largest economy has spurred wealth creation.
Chinese with at least 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) of investable assets hit 1.6 million in 2016, up from 180,000 in 2006, according to the 2017 China Private Wealth Report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank. The overall value of the private wealth market increased to 165 trillion yuan in 2016, growing at 21 percent annually in 2014-2016.
But the growth rate of China's private wealth market is expected to decline to 14 percent in 2017 to a total size of 188 trillion yuan.
Around 120,000 HNWIs had at least 100 million yuan worth of investable assets, up from less than 10,000 people in 2006.
The percentage of HNWIs with overseas investment increased to 56 percent in 2017, up from 19 percent in 2011, but the overall percentage of assets invested overseas has stabilized since 2013.
The top five destinations for overseas investment were Hong Kong, the United States, Australia and Canada although Hong Kong's popularity fell 18 percent and the United States dropped 3 percent from 2015 to 2017.
Respondents said their top three reasons for investing overseas were to diversify investment risks, to capture market opportunities of overseas investments and to migrate.
Sixty-three percent of rich Chinese rely on financial service providers to manage their domestic financial assets and among them, around half use private banking services provided by commercial banks.
China's wealthy are concentrated in major cities and coastal areas, the survey found, but now 22 Chinese provinces have at least 20,000 HNWIs. Most respondents said their top priorities. were "wealth preservation" and "wealth inheritance", in contrast to 2009 when nearly half of HNWIs surveyed said "wealth creation" or "quality of life" were their main goals.
($1 = 6.8166 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Shu Zhang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong