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China's upper class rises again, to 415,000
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The number of millionaires in China grew 20.3 percent last year to 415,000, ranking second in the Asia-Pacific region after Japan, according to a report jointly released on Thursday by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

The rate of increase was much higher than the average of 8.7 percent in the nine major markets covered by the report, which included Japan and India.

"The total wealth of China's rich stood at US$2.12 trillion, up 22.4 percent from 2006," the report said.

Antony Hong, head of Merrill Lynch Pacific Rim Wealth Management, said the increase reflected a booming economy and stock market in 2007.

The report defined "rich" as individuals with personal assets above US$1 million.

(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2008)

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