Ultra wealth: Capitalizing the conspicuous consumption in Myanmar

Wealth-X World Ultra Wealth Report 2012-13

Last month, Wealth-X, a firm that gathers data on rich families for the use of fundraisers, financial advisers and luxury brand marketers released this year’s World Ultra Wealth Report.

In it, Wealth-X estimates that there are over 40 families from Myanmar that make the cut, and forecasts that this number is only likely to grow drastically in this country – to 307 families by 2022. As reported in Irrawaddy, the new rich will grow from such sectors as tourism, financial services and commodities (lumber).

To make it to the list, one will have to be valued in purely financial terms at minimum USD 30 million, also known as “High Net Worth Individuals.” This is a term people often throw around in the fundraising world where I worked in New York City. But it is also a deeply patronizing term, reducing a person down to a financial category. Equally patronizing as “aspirational consumers” as marketers like to say. For those that don’t make the cut to the HNWI list, the X-Wealth report also has another category for the masses that make only USD 200,000 per year, “Mass Affluent.”

Now, what does all this mean for Myanmar? Three things stand out.

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